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I've got a live Windows Server 2008 R2 server, which isn't part of a domain, and needs its machine name to change. I could rename it, but then it would ask me to restart for the name to take effect.

What I'd like to know:

Can I rename this machine, and leave it without restarting for a week or two? Will there be any negative effects if I do? This is a live production machine, which actually won't be affected by the rename, but the powers that be, need it to be named in-line with the current naming scheme.

Thing is, I might not be around when the server is restarted next (at an unknown time in the future) and I need to make sure that it gets renamed before the next restart.) So, I'm hoping I can simply rename it, and tell it not to restart when it asks me, and hope for no problems by doing it this way.


locked by HopelessN00b Jan 29 '15 at 16:12

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You'll encounter issues if you try to access the server by the new name, or if there are any services on the server that try to use the new name before it takes effect (after the reboot), but generally, no.

As long as you recognize you can't use the new name until the reboot, and take appropriate action, there won't be any ill effects you should notice. (If it's pending a reboot, that will prevent Windows updates and other installers from running, for example, but this shouldn't be an issue for you, I wouldn't think.)

When I've had to, I've often left Windows servers pending a reboot for up to a month (mainly related to asinine change management policies), and other than being extremely annoyed at not being allowed to reboot the servers, I can't say I've experienced any problems as a result. Not an ideal situation, but not an inherently problematic one either.

Having said all that, I'd much prefer to rename the machine and reboot it immediately after, because there doesn't seem to be any point in leaving it pending a reboot for a couple weeks, so I'd try to convince management to just do the rename right before the next scheduled reboot or maintenance window. (Why leave it in that state if you don't have to? It's not like the name will change until it reboots, so there's no benefit I can see.)

Thank-you, HopelessN00B, – j2k4j Jan 4 '13 at 6:01

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