How to change a computer name, join a domain, and add a computer description in Windows XP or in Windows Server 2003

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Article ID: 295017 - View products that this article applies to.
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INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to change the name of a computer, join a domain, and add a computer description in Microsoft Windows XP or in Microsoft Windows Server 2003.

MORE INFORMATION

Windows XP

To change the computer name, to join a domain, or to add a computer description for a Windows XP-based computer, use the Computer Name tab in the System Properties dialog box. To locate this tab, use one of the following methods:
  • Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  • Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl, and then click OK.
  • Click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Performance and Maintenance, and then click System.

Change the computer name and join a domain or a workgroup

To change a computer name and to join a domain or a workgroup, follow these steps.

Warning Before you change a computer's membership from a domain to a workgroup, be sure that you know the user name and the password for an account in the local Administrators group. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
317049 You cannot log on after you remove the computer from the domain
  1. Click the Computer Name tab, and then click Change.
  2. Type the new computer name in the Computer name dialog box.
  3. Type the new domain or workgroup in either the Domain dialog box or the Workgroup dialog box.
  4. Click More to change the primary Domain Name System (DNS) suffix.

    Note Windows XP Home Edition is not designed to join domains. Windows XP Home Edition is only designed to join workgroups. Therefore, use Windows XP Professional to join domains.
  5. Click OK three times, and then restart the computer.

Add a computer description

To add a computer description, type a name or a description in the Computer description box on the Computer Name tab, and then click Apply.

Network ID Wizard

If you do not know how to complete these tasks, you can use the Network Identification (ID) Wizard to help you. To start the Network ID Wizard, follow these steps:
  1. In the System Properties dialog box, click Network ID.

    Note This wizard is new to Windows XP. With this wizard, you can add the computer to a workgroup or to a domain.
  2. Move backward and forward in the wizard by using the Back and Next buttons.
The first set of options in the Network ID Wizard is as follows:
  • Option 1
    "This computer is part of a business network, and I use it to connect to other computers at work."
  • Option 2
    "This computer is for home use and is not part of a business network."
If you select option 1, the following options appear:
  • Option 1a
    "My company uses a network with a domain."
  • Option 1b
    "My company uses a network without a domain."
If you select option 1a, a dialog box appears that requests the following information:
  • User name
  • Password
  • User account domain
  • Computer name
  • Computer domain
If you select option 1b, you can also configure the computer as a "Workgroup Member," and you can type the name of the workgroup.

If you select option 2, you are prompted to click Finish to restart the computer. If you follow this step, the computer is configured as a "Workgroup Member." By default, the name of the workgroup is "Workgroup."

Then, the next page requires the domain name to which the computer is to be added. Also, the next page requires the username and the password of an account that has the rights to add a computer to the domain. Additionally, the next page enables the user account from the previous page to be added to this computer. Finally, the next page enables the new user to have various rights on the local computer.

The user may be added to the following built-in groups on the local computer:
  • Administrators
  • Backup operators
  • Debugger users
  • Guests
  • HelpServicesGroup
  • Network configuration operators
  • Power users
  • Remote desktop users
  • Replicator
  • Users
Note If the computer is a member of a domain, the computer also maintains a local domain that has security accounts. These security accounts only pertain to that computer. To change domains at the logon screen, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE. If the Domain box does not appear, click the Options button to display the Domain box, and then select the required domain from the menu.

Note Generally, you must have Administrator credentials on the computer to complete the tasks that are mentioned in this article.

For more information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
246804 How to enable/disable Windows 2000 Dynamic DNS registrations
255913 Integrating Windows 2000 DNS into an existing BIND or Windows NT 4.0-based DNS namespace

Windows Server 2003

To change the computer name, to join a domain, or to add a computer description for a Windows Server 2003-based computer, use the Computer Name tab in the System Properties dialog box. To locate this tab, use one of the following methods:
  • Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  • Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl, and then click OK.
  • Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click System.

Change a computer name and join a domain or a workgroup

To change a computer name and to join a domain or a workgroup, follow these steps:
  1. Click the Computer Name tab, and then click Change.
  2. Type the new computer name in the Computer name dialog box.
  3. Type the new domain or a workgroup in either the Domain dialog box or the Workgroup dialog box.
  4. Click More to change the primary Domain Name System (DNS) suffix.
  5. Click OK three times, and then restart the computer.

Add a computer description

Type a name or a description in the Computer description box on the Computer Name tab, and then click Apply to add a computer description.

Properties

Article ID: 295017 - Last Review: September 23, 2011 - Revision: 6.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
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