My Setup : Windows Server 2003 with Active Directory and DNS Role

Problem : I have few computers at office which I have named according to some conventions eg OW01 etc. Users want to access this machines by name of users like if PersonX is working on OW01 they want to access it as


How can I accomplish this task.

I have tried to add CName record in DNS for PersonX but it gives me error

You were not connected because a duplicate name exists on the network. Go to System in Control Panel to change the computer name and try again.

EDIT : Ping and nslookup works fine for this new alias. I am just not able to use \\PersonX here.

Thanks in advance.

  • \\PersonX\what? Are you trying to access a share? A printer? C$? What are some examples of how your users would use this? – nray Oct 10 '09 at 16:08
  • BTW, even though I thought the DFS idea was fun I kind of agree with @mh that users needing to browse each other's machines is a bit lunatic. – nray Oct 11 '09 at 14:15
  • I just said it more tactfully, but "a bit lunatic" is good too. ;) – Maximus Minimus Oct 11 '09 at 16:20

That seems like an awfully complex setup you're in danger of moving towards, and your users don't seem to have fully thought through the implications of their request. One HUGE problem I can see is what would happen if they start moving around between machines. Would they expect you to update DNS every time someone moves to a different machine for a day or even for a few hours? Saying "no" to them in such a circumstance is a valid option.

I'm thinking you may need to rearchitect the way you're handling shared network resources. The way I'm reading it is that you don't have a file server and that users are accessing shared folders on each other's PCs. This. Is. A. Recipe. For. Disaster. It's adding complexity to your environment, making your backups (which I hope you have) a mini-nightmare, potentially compromising your security and putting you in a position where you can't re-image or replace a PC without a whole load extra work.

If I'm reading this right, my recommendation is to get a proper file server in and centralise your shared storage on it, perhaps setting up a folder structure that mirrors the way the users obviously work most productively.

  • @mh : I totally agree with you and whatever you have assumed is very right. I am having this nightmare :( . Actually I am a programmer who additionally handles all this admin stuff. Thanks for your good advise and I will try to follow it. – MRG Oct 12 '09 at 6:51

Windows servers will not respond to "\\secondDNS..." unless you Disable Strict Name Checking. You may need to do that in addition to trying PEra's suggestion.

  • 1
    +1, completely correct; I just fixed a typo ("\" characters need to be escaped by prefixing them with another "\"). – Massimo Oct 10 '09 at 14:38

Is "PersonX" the actual name of the user account? If so, it conflicts with names in the AD. Users and computers are both AD objects and need to have a unique name.

I'd suggest to prefix the name with something like \\user-PersonX and go ahead with the CNAMES.


Here's an alternative idea, using DFS.

Let's say your Active Directory domain is acme.com. Create a share on your domain controller or main file server or whatever called computers. Set the NTFS permissions to allow everybody at least read. Use this to build the DFS namespace,


Now you can create DFS targets for each user, pointed at some share on their computer. In your example (assuming it's C$ on OW01 you're sharing) \\OW01\C$ could be accessed under the DFS alias,


I'm assuming that it's a file share on each computer that your users want to access with \\OW01\PersonX, and of course the example C$ won't work unless all the users are local admins on each other's machines, so substitute the name of the actual share.

In practice, your users would probably type \\acme\computers into the run box or address bar, then browse the list of targets, and double-click on the right name,


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.