I am running a Windows Server 2012R2 Domain Server (ADDS).

The domain is historically from a 2003 server, and is a single Label Domain: e.g.: Contoso

I want to rename it to: Contoso.local (using rendom)

After some reading, in 2 places, I am not sure if after I complete the rename, I will need to go over all my users/clients, and rejoin them to the new domain:

  1. If I have a contoso.local domain, I can join it with only: contoso
  2. In a step by step guide, I am asked to go over all clients, and rejoin the domain (but I am not sure that it's correct for single label domain --> multi label domain

What's true?

[EDIT] Assuming I follow @jscott comment on: Windows Active Directory naming best practices? and I rename my domain to: internal.contoso.com (I own contoso.com), and the netbios to: contoso, does that effect the result?

  • 7
    "Contoso.local" might also be a bad choice. serverfault.com/questions/76715/…
    – jscott
    Oct 27, 2014 at 14:05
  • noted, edited Q to fit new data :-)
    – Saariko
    Oct 27, 2014 at 14:11
  • Could it be that the computers are joined to a domain ID and not to the domain name? (Just as users on windows and unices are just IDs with a nice mapping to an easy to understand name)? (Not sure here. Just trying to figure out the background using logic rather then properly reading the tech background).
    – Hennes
    Oct 27, 2014 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


You will not need to rejoin clients or re-create users if you are doing a domain rename. I don't know what step-by-step guide you're looking at, but the step-by-step guide to domain rename from Microsoft doesn't contain such instructions.

I've done several domain renames in Windows 2003 single-forest, single-domain environments with and without Exchange 2003. I've never had any problems. All domain member computers must be rebooted twice in order to complete the procedure, but no disjoining and rejoining are required. All user accounts, groups, permissions, etc, are preserved.

I would still recommend mocking-up the procedure in virtual machines before you actually do it on your production network.

  • One thing I discovered is that you must reboot all client computers twice BEFORE you run the final command rendom /clean otherwise it seems rebooting twice does not work. At least that was my experience and seems to be other's as well.
    – floyd
    Mar 13, 2015 at 1:47
  • I'm having a hard time parsing your comment. All domain member computers must be rebooted twice when the domain is in the process of being renamed. That's reflected in my answer and in the document it links to. Mar 13, 2015 at 15:08

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