A+ Certification / Beginners

Understanding Name Resolution

To communicate with another computer across a TCP/IP network, you have to know the IP address of the computer you are trying to communicate with. This is unrealistic considering that you are probably not too interested in trying to memorize all the IP addresses of the different Web sites you visit every day.

When running a TCP/IP network, you assign a friendly name to each computer and reference each computer by the friendly name instead of using the IP address. This means that instead of using an address like to connect to Mikey's computer, you would use a friendly name, like mikey.

There are two types of names to understand when troubleshooting TCP/IP networks: Computer names (also known as NetBIOS names) and fully qualified domain names.

NetBIOS names

In the Windows world you access resources on a system by connecting to the computer name of the system. As an administrator, you assign a computer name to each computer on the network. The computer name (NetBIOS name) is a friendly name of up to 15 characters that is assigned to a computer and is used to uniquely identify the computer on the network. Users can then connect to the computer by the computer name or by the IP address - they will find it much easier to remember the computer name!

Changing the computer name in Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003

The process of changing your computer name in Windows 2000/XP/2003 is a common task to want to perform, and is fairly straightforward with today's Windows operating systems To change your computer name, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click My Computer and choose Properties from the context menu.
    If you don't see My Computer on the desktop, you can find it in the Start menu.
  2. Click the Computer Name tab.
  3. Click the Change button.
    The Computer Name Changes dialog box appears, allowing you to type a new computer name.
    When changing your computer name, notice that you can set the workgroup as well. A workgroup is the term given to a logical grouping of computers. When users browse the network, they may choose a workgroup, such as "Accounting," and they will see any systems that are a part of the "Accounting" workgroup. To place your system in a particular workgroup, simply type the name of the workgroup in the text box.
  4. Click OK to close out all the dialog boxes.
  5. Reboot the system.
    Because the computer name does not take effect until you reboot the system you are required to reboot.
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