I have client running a Small Business Server 2003 R2 network with a strangely named domain. The fully qualified domain name is a straightforward contoso.local. The domain netbios name (shown as pre-Windows 2000 domain name), however, is contoso2. While not good esthetically, the domain name mismatch has not presented any real problems until recently.

After migrating to Windows 7, when users try to remote into their PC’s, the default domain name at the login prompt is contoso (eg “contoso\username”). This is incorrect (it should be “contoso2\...” or “contoso.local\...”) and is causing all kinds of grief for the users. So now I am looking at finally fixing this domain name mismatch.

Through my Google research I’ve found the following resources:

I’m not much of an Active Directory expert. These articles only discuss renaming a Server 2008 domain so I’m not sure what applies to 2003 R2 or not. Seeing also that I’m renaming the Win2000 domain name but not the FQDN, I’m wondering if there some steps that are changed or I don’t need to do.



Sounds as if you want to change the NetBIOS name, but not the DNS name. Windows 2000 domains do not support renames. Domain must have forest functional level of 2003 or higher. See http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc738208%28v=ws.10%29.aspx. You also cannot rename a domains that uses Exchange (see article). Sounds as if when you do the rename you could change the NetBIOS name and leave the DNS name the same. Build a different test domain with a few VM's and test it out if you can. The rendom tool and more checklists at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/bb405948.aspx

  • Thanks for finding some domain rename resources for 2003. It looks that I also mis-read the window that says "Domain name (pre-Windows 2000)" as Windows 2000 domain name. "Domain netbios" appears to be correct term. – voon Sep 21 '14 at 15:15
  • I did a test run using a VM of the server (a few weeks ago). Looks like it works! – voon Oct 18 '14 at 1:44

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