Properly Renaming a Domain Controller (Server 2012R2)


Usually, you never want to rename a domain controller. you should think hard about what you want it to be named and stick with it.

If you (like me) had a customer that is absolutely demanding it, you ARE able to do it. (NEVER use computer properties to rename a domain controller.)

WARNING: The server will be rebooted during this process and until completed, I cannot guarantee that the server will process logons.

We will be presuming the current server name is wrongname.domain.local, and the new name will be server.domain.local, please change these to suit your current situation.

Steps (8 total)

1. Getting ready.

Open a command prompt. (Windows key+r (run) + cmd)

2. Adding an alternate computer name.

SYNTAX : netdom computername <currentDC FQDN> /add:<newDCName FQDN>

so, in the command prompt, type (sans quotes) “netdom computername wrongname.domain.local /add:server.domain.local”

This should return with “Added (NAME) as an alternate name for the computer. The command completed successfully.

3. Make the new name the primary.

SYNTAX: netdom computername <currentDC FQDN> /makeprimary:<newDCName FQDN>

so, we type netdom computername wrongname.domain.local /makeprimary:server.domain.local

IMPORTANT: This command will return successful, and warn you that you need to reboot immediately, as it may not authenticate logons (very important if only DC in forest)

4. Reboot the server.

Pick your poison. I like “shutdown /r /t 0” in the cmd.

5. Check new server name.

Go to system properties and confirm new computer name.

6. Remove old hostname.

SYNTAX: netdom computername <newDCName FQDN> /remove:<oldDCName FQDN>

(remember, in a command prompt)

so, “netdom computername server.domain.local /remove:wrongname.domain.local”

Command should return successfully.

7. Paranoia.

in cmd, run a “dcdiag” to make sure everything is AOK.

8. Clean up.

If you use logon scripts, remember to update the UNC paths with the new server name.


Altogether, this can be somewhat a nail biting task, but as long as you take your time to do things properly, it will turn out AOK!