Changing Your Computer Name with Windows XP

As its name suggests, the Computer Name tab of the System applet allows you to change the name of your PC, an important consideration if you’re connected to a network. Every PC on a Microsoft network much have a unique name, and sometimes the name given to a PC by default (for example by an OEM manufacturer) is neither intuitive nor reasonable. In such cases, use the Change button to change the name of your PC to something more desirable.

Other configurable settings from this tab include the ability to add a description for your system that will be visible when users browse the network via My Network Places, as well as join a domain or workgroup. Configuring a description is always a good idea, since it allows you to inform users of the purpose of a system; a description of “file server for all users”, for example, might help users to distinguish a specific system with that role from another with a similar name. The ability to switch between a domain and workgroup is largely a function of whether your system exists in a corporate environment. Most home and small office users will go with the workgroup option, since this does not require a Windows server system configured as a domain controller – a requirement to join a domain environment. However, if you do need to add an XP system to a domain, you now know where this is accomplished from.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.