When you talk about host names, I infer that you are talking about DNS names vs WINS (NetBIOS) names. Are you looking for the physical system name, CNAMEs, additional server principle names (somewhat rare) or NetBIOS alternate names?
Utilities to check names in your providers are:
nslookup – DNS names
nblookup – NetBIOS names in WINS
One critical piece is which operating system(s) are you using?
Assuming that this is an all Windows environment then you need to know some information about each system before you can change the physical host name of the system.
- Are there any applications installed that embed the system name at installation? Yes that is bad behavior but many do. If so, then changing the physical name of a system can adversely affect your environment.
- Are there any processes in the environment that depend on the physical name? Another bad behavior, but it happens allot. You will need to update them when you change the name. Recommend using CNAMES rather than the physical host name.
- Are there any CNAME or alternate names associated with this system that will need to be corrected? This is another item to address when modifying or replacing a system.
The only method I know to positively check on CNAMEs and NetBIOS alternate names is to check the providers which are your DNS and WINS servers. Alternate names can be manually configured in the providers.
Server Principle names are associated with Microsoft Active Directory.
Now on to the actual work…
- Renaming a system can be done via the NETDOM command.
- Setting up CNAMES depends on you DNS environment.
- Manually adding CNAMES is done by the DNS admin or assigns
- Setting up alternative NetBIOS names on a system is done through a registry edit.
- Manually adding NetBIOS names into WINS is done by the WINS admin or assigns
- Additional Server Principle names require a Domain Admin.
Another diagnostic tool is NBTSTAT. The “-a <ipaddress>|name” option will return the NetBIOS names of the remote system. The option “<00> UNIQUE” is the “host” name. Refer to WINS and NetBIOS documentation for other options.
NOTE1: If NetBIOS is not configured in your environment, this will fail.
NOTE2: This will return all registered alternative NetBIOS names. This is different from DNS tools.
nbtstat -a 192.168.2.20
NetBIOS Remote Machine Name Table
Name Type Status
xxxxxxxxxxxxx <00> UNIQUE Registered