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DC with and Underscore _ in name

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  • DC with and Underscore _ in name

    I have a customer with a single windows 2000 domain controller. The domain controller computer name is finance_server. We are going to be migrating them from their 2000 domain controller to a 2003 domain controller using the swing method so that we can keep the same computer name on the new server. (here's a link for those not familiar

    We updated the existing 2000 server to sp4 and also did the adprep on the active directory so that our temporary 2003 computer could join the domain.

    We joined the 2003 computer to the domain and promoted it to a domain controller. When promoting it to domain controller, everything went good except for the sysvol would not replicate. We figured out that this problem was due to the firewall being enabled on the 2003 server and was preventing the file replication.

    But before we figured this out we did lots of research on the internet and found articles that said underscores (_) are not allowed to be used in a computer name on a windows 2003 OS because of incompatiblities with the DNS of a domain. Apparently this was not a rule with the windows 2000 OS but now I am stuck with lots of client computers looking for resources on the server named finance_server and I think I am going to have to rename the new windows 2003 server to finance-server and have the clients look for the resources there.

    My question are:

    1. Am I really going to be forced to rename the server for compatibility, or is there a way around this?

    2. If I rename the server are there any recomendations or suggestions anyone has to make this easier and as smooth as possible?


  • #2
    Re: DC with and Underscore _ in name

    IIRC the underscore is not a "legal" character in the official RFC for DNS on the internet, but there is nothing to prevent you using it internally. I dont have it in any servers, but all my workstations have an _ and I have had no problems resolving them with MS DNS
    Tom Jones
    MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
    IT Trainer / Consultant
    Ossian Ltd

    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **


    • #3
      Re: DC with and Underscore _ in name

      As Ossian has stated, there shouldn't be a problem with the name. Assuming you still have the Windows 2000 DC still available and all FSMO roles are on it and it is a GC, if some reason you still wanted to ensure a name without the underscore, I would recommend DCPROMOing out the windows 2003 DC, reboot it and then reinstall.

      Renaming a DC can become tricky and can lead to unpredictable results; I know that Microsoft emphasise this feature on an MCSE 2003 course but I always make it a rule never to perform it.


      • #4
        Re: DC with and Underscore _ in name

        Thanks for the responses. I thought I had a load of work ahead of me. I'll be setting up the new server in the next week or so and I let you know how it goes.


        • #5
          Re: DC with and Underscore _ in name

          Wasn't it more of an issue with the Domain Name having the underscore and not the machine/server name? Been over 5 years since I first read it so time may have distorted what I remember reading.
          Joined: 23rd December 2003
          Departed: 23rd December 2015