Windows Tip Sheet

What's in a Name?

Rename standalone computers and also get all kinds of computer info with the free Compname.exe tool.

This tip is part 4 in a series of 4 on cool command-line freeware.

You know Netdom.exe (included with Windows’ Support Tools) can be used to rename domain computers, but what about standalone ones? Compname.exe by Ole Restorick does the trick. The tool is templatable (trust me, that’s a word), meaning you can create a whole file full of new computer names and have the tool match based on things like mainboard serial numbers, IP addresses and so forth. (I wish Windows’ unattended installation answer files were so flexible!)

Compname.exe will change the NetBIOS computer name and can display the current name, serial number or a summary of system information. Run the tool with /? to see command-line syntax. This would be a great tool in a configuration center dealing with new, pre-installed computers from a manufacturer like Dell. Just fix up the template file the way you want it and run the tool through a command-line script on each computer.

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About the Author

Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is an Author/Evangelist for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of PowerShell.org, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ConcentratedDon.

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