What is the best naming conventions for computers and domains?

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Article ID: 180362

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Management Platform (Formerly known as Notification Server) Deployment Solution

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Question
What is the best naming conventions for computers and domains?

Answer

Here are a number of other Microsoft* articles on naming which indicate using characters other than letters (A–Z, a–z), digits (0–9), and hyphens because using is asking for problems.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q188997
NetBIOS on WinNT and below allowed some other characters

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q204032
Spaces not allowed in Win2K NetBios names unlike NT4 and below

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q222823
Only Microsoft DNS allows characters other than letters (A–Z, a–z), digits (0–9), and hyphens

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q244412
Windows 2000-based computers cannot have computer names that consist only of numbers. However, Microsoft Windows NT-based computers can have computer names that consist only of numbers.


Also from the help file in Win2K DNS.

Document Name: Namespace planning for DNS

Section entitled: Choosing names

It is strongly recommended that you use only characters in your names that are part of the Internet standard character set permitted for use in DNS host naming. Allowed characters are defined in RFC 1123 as follows: all uppercase letters (A–Z), lowercase letters (a–z), numbers (0–9), and the hyphen (-).

For organizations with a prior investment in Microsoft NetBIOS technology, existing computer names might conform to the NetBIOS naming standard. If this is the case, consider revising the names of your computers to the Internet DNS standard.

The process of adjusting your naming conventions might prove to be time consuming. To ease the transition from Windows NT 4.0 NetBIOS names to Windows 2000 DNS domain names, the DNS service includes support for extended ASCII and Unicode characters. However, this additional character support can only be used in a pure Windows 2000 network environment. This is because most other DNS resolver client software is based on RFC 1123, the specification that standardizes Internet host naming requirements. If a nonstandard DNS domain name is entered during Windows 2000 setup, a warning message appears recommending that a standard DNS name be used instead.

In Windows NT 4.0 and earlier versions, the name used to identify a Windows computer on the network was a NetBIOS name. In Windows 2000, a computer can be identified in any of the following ways:

A NetBIOS computer name, which is optional, is used for interoperability with earlier Windows systems.  The Full computer name is a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) for the computer and is its primary (or default) name.  In addition to these, a computer might also be identified by the FQDN comprised of the computer (or host) name and a connection-specific domain name, where one is configured and applied for a specific network connection on the computer.

The full computer name is a combination of both the computer name and the DNS domain name for the computer. The DNS domain name for the computer is part of the System properties for the computer and is not related to any specific installed networking components. However, computers running Windows 2000 that do not use either networking or TCP/IP do not have a DNS domain name.

The following table is a comparison of NetBIOS and DNS computer names.

NetBIOS computer name DNS computer name
Type Flat Hierarchical
Character restrictions Unicode characters, numbers, white space.
Symbols: ! @ # $ % ^ & ' ) ( . - _ { } ~ Same as for NetBIOS except no white space permitted
Period (.) has special reserved meaning.
Maximum length 15 character bytes 63 octets per label
255 octets per fully qualified domain name (FQDN)
Name service Windows Internet Name Service (WINS)
NetBIOS broadcast Domain Name System (DNS) service

See the full text for additional details. The general idea should already be clear by now.