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Unable to Change Server Name Once Installed RRS feed

  • Question

  • FYI, unlike WHS v1 it is apparently impossible to change the name of the server once WHS 2011 is installed.  This is due to requirements for Windows Certificate Services.  This has bitten a number of us who have installed WHS 2011 in a "test" configuration side-by-side with an existing WHS v1 system prior to switching over to the new version. 

    I saw some discussion of this in the WHS 2011 beta forum, but nothing here, so I wanted to post this as a warning to others.  The only solution is to reinstall WHS 2011.

    This *might* be a workable limitation provided it is documented. However, there is no mention of this in the WHS 2011 setup, nor in any of the online documentation or release notes (that I could find).  That, to me, makes this a bug--caveat emptor.




    Wednesday, July 20, 2011 1:28 PM

All replies

  • You are correct - have you submitted a bug report (or voted an existing one up) on Connect?
    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Wednesday, July 20, 2011 1:34 PM
  • Plus, the standard install will set the name "Workgroup" for the Workgroup name, and this also cannot be easily changed after installation. Should you want the server to be in a different workgroup, here's the workaround that must be done during installation.
    Wednesday, July 20, 2011 1:34 PM
  • Phil - I seem to recall that this was submitted as a suggestion on Microsoft Connect quite some time ago. However, Microsoft deleted all the suggestions back in March, so if it was there, it's gone to the big bit-bucket in the sky...

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011 1:40 PM
  • Phil - I seem to recall that this was submitted as a suggestion on Microsoft Connect quite some time ago. However, Microsoft deleted all the suggestions back in March, so if it was there, it's gone to the big bit-bucket in the sky...


    Which might explain why I can't find a mention of this on the Connect Site.  FYI, I tried this morning to submit this on Connect, but there is apparently something amiss with my profile, and I'm unable to submit a ticket.  I've got an email into them now for help.  We'll see what happens...
    Wednesday, July 20, 2011 1:51 PM
  • This is (effectively) by design. Because the "certificate Authority" role is installed, you can't change your server's name or workgroup after installation. This isn't under the control of the Home and Small Business Server team, unfortunately.

    As for documenting it, the only way to change the name is from the server's desktop. Since logging on to the desktop is technically not supported, Microsoft may have felt that there was no need to document this.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, July 21, 2011 1:03 AM
  • This is (effectively) by design. Because the "certificate Authority" role is installed, you can't change your server's name or workgroup after installation. This isn't under the control of the Home and Small Business Server team, unfortunately.

    As for documenting it, the only way to change the name is from the server's desktop. Since logging on to the desktop is technically not supported, Microsoft may have felt that there was no need to document this.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)


    I understand (after research) that this is by design. The "bug" (in my mind) is the lack of any up-front warning during setup or any mention in the documentation that might prevent someone from having to go through hours of duplicate effort.  "Home server" users should not be expected to "know" what a certificate authority is or to be aware of its implications on the rest of the product.

    The move to a more modern core OS was supposed to be a step up, but by relying so heavily on Windows Server core services (backup in particular), the 2011 product inherits greater complexity and reduced flexibility (2Gb volume limits, lack of GPT disk support, etc.--and let's not even mention DE).  It also exhibits maddening non-deterministic behavior common to software that relies too heavily on loosely-connected asynchronous services.  An example: I'm running my initial server backup now, and the dashboard indicated it was 41% complete after 25 minutes; 6 HOURS later it is stuck at 46%... with nothing in the event log to indicate why. 

    WHS v1 was built by a small team that couldn't take many dependencies on the core OS, and the product was the better for it (and it really pains me to say this).


    Thursday, July 21, 2011 7:10 AM

  • I understand (after research) that this is by design. The "bug" (in my mind) is the lack of any up-front warning during setup or any mention in the documentation that might prevent someone from having to go through hours of duplicate effort.  "Home server" users should not be expected to "know" what a certificate authority is or to be aware of its implications on the rest of the product.



    This is not the only example of where the writers of the documentation have not thought about pitching the information at the level of the "Home server" user. There's a wonderful example here in the online help:

    Connection is disabled

    The home computer connection is either blocked by a firewall, or the remote desktop is disabled at the computer or by Group Policy. It may take up to 6 hours for this status to be updated in the server if there is a change.

    I wonder how many "home users" know what Group Policy is, and how to use it?

    Thursday, July 21, 2011 7:31 AM
  • My point, Gary, is that the user has no supported access to the tools that would normally let you change the server's name or workgroup. Microsoft may have concluded that there's no need to document limitations that are only visible from unsupported tools.

    While it's true that many enthusiasts use the server desktop rather than the Dashboard (or even use the Dashboard only from the desktop), that doesn't change the status of the desktop as "unsupported".


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, July 21, 2011 10:29 AM
  • Geoff, when you run across something like this, you might want to bug it on Connect. That said, since a fairly high percentage of Windows Home Server users are technophiles of one sort or another, I'd say the odds are higher as a percentage than the general computer-using population. :)
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, July 21, 2011 10:31 AM
  • Ken, when the online help pages were first put up, they had a prominent "please give us feedback on the content" link at the top of every page (that's now been replaced by a small "Feedback" link on the top right hand side).

     

    Right from the off, I used that first feedback link to give them chapter and verse on every error, omission, bad grammar, wrong audience and so on that I saw. Everything that I noted then, back in April, and sent to them, is still there.


    Thursday, July 21, 2011 11:27 AM