Renaming a Domain Controller

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

The ability to rename domain controllers running Windows Server 2003 (contrary to Windows 2000 Server) provides you with the flexibility to:

  • Restructure your network for organizational and business needs.

  • Make management and administrative control easier.

Renaming a domain controller is a common operation in many organizations and usually occurs when:

  • New hardware is purchased to replace an existing domain controller.

  • Domain controllers are decommissioned, or promoted, and renamed to maintain a naming convention.

  • Domain controllers are moved or placed in sites.


It is important to note that domain controller names have a primary impact on administration, rather than client access. Renaming a domain controller is an optional exercise, and the impacts should be well understood prior to renaming.

Although you can use the System Properties user interface (UI) to rename a domain controller (as you can for any computer), Active Directory and DNS replication latency might temporarily prevent clients from locating or authenticating to the renamed domain controller, or both. To avoid this delay, use the Netdom command-line tool to rename a domain controller.

Task requirements

The following tools are required to perform the procedures for this task:

  • System Properties or Netdom.exe

  • Ldp.exe or Adsiedit.msc

If you want to use Netdom, the domain functional level must be set to Windows Server 2003.

To complete this task, use one of the following two sets of procedures:

  1. Rename a domain controller using System Properties

  2. Update the FRS member object


  1. Rename a domain controller using Netdom

  2. Update the FRS member object