Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How to rename a Windows 2003 Active Directory domain controller

Have you ever run across a domain controller you didn't setup and wanted to change the name? You can, and it's not that difficult. In order to make sure everything in active directory updates correctly, you'll want to use NETDOM, which is included in the Windows 2003 Support Tools download. If you don't already have that installed, you'll want to download and install the support pack first. Then on to the next step.

This is a three step process. First you add an alternative name for your DC to AD, then you make that alternative name your primary name, then you remove the old primary name which will at this point be the alternative. In between each step you'll want to wait until the change has been replicated to your other DCs before proceeding. You can check this using ADSIEdit.msc to look at the directory partitions on those other servers.

To start things off, go to Start->All Programs->Windows Support Tools->Command Prompt (or just open a command prompt). To add an alternative name for your DC, use the command

netdom computername /

This will add an alternative name of to your DC named Just make sure to replace with the name you want the DC to have, and with the current name you want to get rid of. Wait for the alternative name to replicate, then move on to the step of promoting the alternative name to the primary. To verify the replication, use ADSIEdit.msc to look at the Domain partition on your other DCs. Look at Domain->OU=Domain Controllers, then right-click on CN=newDCName and go to Properties. If the change above has replicated to the server you're looking at, you should find a value of under the msDS-AdditionalDnsHostName attribute

netdom computername /

This will promote your alternative name to the new primary name for your DC. Once that change has been replicated to the other DCs within your environment, the only thing left is to remove the old name completely. Once this change has replicated to a domain controller, the msDS-AdditionalDnsHostName attribute should have the value You can check that on your DCs using ADSIEdit.msc again

netdom computername /

This will remove references to the old hostname, leaving you with a machine named If you're having problems following this guide, try the original one that helped me get through the rename process. If can be found by following this link to

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