for computer naming standards
In a Windows 2000/XP network, each computer must have a unique
name that identifies it to other computers using WINS and DNS,
and to Administrators and Users on the network. It is generally
recommended that computer names by under 15 characters for convenience
and compatibly with NetBIOS and WINS. The computer name can use
a mix of letters and numbers, but you should avoid hyphens,
underscores, or using all numeric characters. If you are
running TCP/IP, you can technically use up to 63 characters for
the DNS name, but if you have a large and deep Active Directory
structure with several sub-domains, you can run out of spaces quickly. For
best results, follow these basic guidelines when choosing a
computer name for your server or workstation:
letters (A-Z) and numbers (0-9) in your computer names.
Hyphens, underscores, and other characters may cause
problems with your DNS Servers.
||Do not start
your computername with a numerical character. Not all DNS
Servers expect to see a DNS name that starts with a
number, and may interpret it incorrectly.
consisting entirely of hexadecimal digits as they can be
interpreted entirely as hexadecimal numbers as well as
alphabetic strings. The hexadecimal digits are the
ordinary, base-10 digits '0' through '9' plus the letters
'A' through 'F'. In the hexadecimal system, these digits
represent the values 0 through 15, respectively.
Windows NT supported all numerical computer names, Windows
2000 does not. Be sure to avoid this pitfall when
upgrading your NT workstations and Servers.
||Try to keep
your computer names under 15 characters in length to make
them easier to remember and type. Avoid using terms and
words that are difficult to spell, or sound like other
words. (i.e. Check and Czech).
||If you specify
a computer name longer than 15 characters and you want
longer names to be recognized by the Active Directory
domain, the domain administrator must enable registration
of DNS names that are 16 bytes or longer
||If you are
using a technical theme for your naming convention, use
one that is understood by your entire organization and can
scale as your network grows. After all, not everyone is a
die hard Star Trek fan.
usernames as the computername, as this creates an
Administrative nightmare when you replace a users PC, or
if you give the PC to a different user. Try using a
simpler and impartial naming scheme based on location and
alternate spellings. Hackers and computer geeks love to
use mixed characters in naming themselves or their
equipment. (Substituting "zero" for "O", and "3" for "E")
Get a grip on your staff before this starts.
||Place a small
label or tag on the front of every server to identify its
computer name for Administrators working in a server room.
On workstations, place the stickers on the sides of the
computer case and out of view from the users, you may
tempted to peeling them off.
practices for small organizations
Home networks and smaller
organizations frequently choose informal or humorous naming
conventions that can be based on obscure historical, literary,
mythical characters, or cartoon characters. Some of the more
interesting themes we've seen include cheeses, wines and other alcoholic
beverages, satellites, planets, Science Fiction (Star Wars/Star
Trek), muppets, musician/band names, celebrities, cars,
mountains, rivers, and even bizarre medical
disorders. While several of these may be fine for home use
or small isolated networks, administrators quickly
discover that this doesn't scale well when your network grows.
Unless your entire organization is dedicated to astronomy,
naming your servers after galaxies, and your workstations after
planets will simply confuse users and Administrators alike. If
you decide to use this method to name your servers, choose a theme that is easily understood by both your users and
administrators, and that still has room to grow. If you
think your organization will grow past 10 servers and 100
workstations, you may want to choose a naming scheme that is
practices for large organizations
In large organizations that manage thousands of workstations and
servers, a logical and standardized naming scheme is a must. Not
only can this quickly identify the appropriate support personnel
for that server/workstation, it can also be used as a security
tool to identify the location of internal security threats
without having to tear through the subnet tables.
In several of the Fortune 500
companies that I have worked for over the years, a common naming
practice revolves around choosing a theme that rapidly identifies
the location and function of a network device. The scheme
usually consists of a standardized location identification code,
followed by the department code, a description of function, and
a numerical sequence.
Following this example, a Server
in the 6th floor of the Headquarters in Cleveland Ohio would
start with "CLVHQ06SV" This name takes up 9
characters, allowing for 6 additional characters which can
include additional identification data. We don't move our racks
around frequently, so of our 3 web servers, the one sitting
in rack number 18 is "CLVHQ06IIS18003". It may sound
complicated at first, but once your staff gets used to the
convention, it makes it much easier to locate and troubleshoot
servers. Just make sure to include a cheat sheet for new
employees and visiting contractors.
For workstations, (which can
number in the thousands) a slight variation uses a similar
starting sequence "CLVHQ06WS" followed by either cube
number, department code and sequence (HR124), or part of the
user name. You'll have to balance this with how often PC's move
around your organization, how high your personnel turnover is,
and how closely you want to track your workstations.
Generating Computer Names
If you are using Windows 2000
Remote Installation Service to deploy your Windows 2000
Professional, you can use the
Automatic computer naming option to make sure each client
computer is provided a unique name during the remote
installation request. The default format is the user name with
an appended incremental number.
You can also create a custom
naming policy; to do this, click Customize. You can then
select one of the following options to automatically create the
- The user's first name is used
as the computer name.
- The user name is used as the
- The name includes an
- The user's last name is used
as the computer name.
- The network card media access
control address is used as the computer name.
To limit the length of the
computer name, add a numerical value to the text string. For
example, if the user's last name is Smith and you want to limit
the name to three characters (Smi), use the following string:
You can also combine options. For
example, if you want the computer name to consist of the first
three letters of the user's first name followed by the first
three letters of his or her last name, use the following string:
Sources for Computer Naming Schemes:
An online encyclopedia of mythology, folklore, and legend with
over 5,700 definitions of gods and goddesses, supernatural
beings and legendary creatures and monsters from all over the
world. Makes a great reference for generating computer/server
names, project codenames, hard to guess passwords, and a unique
test user list for computer labs.
Still can't figure out what to name your new server? This page
lists the names that have been given to satellites and rockets.
Names that are merely acronyms or descriptions of the
satellite's function (e.g. Geostationary Operational
Environmental Satellite) are not included. NASA has named a
number of its scientific satellites, and other space agencies
have also used up some names.
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