How to rename a Windows Server 2008 domain


Previously you have been able to use RENDOM utility provided by Microsoft to rename your Window 2000 and Windows Server 2003 domains. However in Windows Server 2008 domain you don’t have to separately install Rendom utility. It gets installed as part of “Active Directory Domain Services” role when you promote a server to the DC role. And It can be found here : %windir%\system32\rendom.exe.

I used it to rename a Windows Server 2008 domain in my test lab environment. The process was pretty straightforward but it may require more tasks if you have multiple DCs in a multi domain environment.

The Forest and Domain Functional Level should be Windows Server 2008 to proceed with the following task.

From the command prompt, I started out by running rendom /list which outputs an XML file (Domainlist.xml) to the directory where rendom resides. You edit that file to change your domain configuration to the new domain name. i.e ForestDNSZones, DomainDNSZones, Netbios name. See referenced link for details.

After you have modified the file you can run rendom /showforest which shows you the future configuration, verify and make changes if necessary.

Upload the changes you have made in the XML file: Run rendom /upload

Verify readiness of Domain Controller(s): Run rendom /prepare

Execute domain rename instructions: Run rendom /execute

After thats finishes up successfully, you should also run GPFIXUP tool to fix up GPO references to your old domain name. See Step 12 of this document.

Here is an example :

C:\Users\Administrator>gpfixup /olddns:08r2.lab /newdns:mcts.lab
Group Policy fix up utility Version 1.1 (Microsoft)

Start fixing group policy (GroupPolicyContainer) objects:

Start fixing site group policy links:

Start fixing non-site group policy links:
gpfixup tool executed with success.

C:\Users\Administrator>gpfixup /oldnb:08r2 /newnb:mcts
Group Policy fix up utility Version 1.1 (Microsoft)

Start fixing group policy (GroupPolicyContainer) objects:
gpfixup tool executed with success.

Lastly, run rendom /clean

The identity (domain GUID) of the renamed domain does not change during a domain rename operation. Thus a computer’s domain membership does not change as a result of the holding domain being renamed.

However, every member computer joined to the renamed domain needs to be rebooted twice. Please refer to “How Domain Rename works” technical reference for more info.

How Domain Rename Works : Microsoft Technet

Other References: (for domains with Exchange)

67 thoughts on “How to rename a Windows Server 2008 domain

  1. Spanky

    Getting the following error when running rendom /upload:

    C:\Windows\System32>rendom /showforest
    alsd.circ11.dcn [ForestRoot Domain, FlatName:ALSD]
    DomainDnsZones.alsd.circ11.dcn [PartitionType:Application]
    ForestDnsZones.alsd.circ11.dcn [PartitionType:Application]

    The operation completed successfully.

    C:\Windows\System32>rendom /upload
    Failed to upload Dns Root alias on the DN: CN=cf426965-7337-4ec0-af54-b8e73e05ae
    55,CN=Partitions,CN=Configuration,DC=alsd,DC=local, on host alsd-pdc.alsd.local.

    000021A2: SvcErr: DSID-030A0AE6, problem 5012 (DIR_ERROR), data 8610
    : The system cannot open the device or file specified. :110

    Any thoughts, please?

  2. worked great for me!

    there were a few lingering loose ends to tie up (changing the Primary DNS Suffix of the PDC to remove the lingering remnants of the old domain in MMC etc), but so far so good.

    My own domain is a tiny home network of 4 machines an a server, and I was running into issues where the internal domain (AD) and external domain(www., mail., etc) were using the same “” suffix, which lead to me not being able to find internally, since no box in the LAN was named “www”, and this helped divide internal and external DNS.

    Thanks for the concise writeup!

  3. Empower

    YES,it work,
    but I want to know all clients should rename domain name from computer name,more,dns suffix of this computer or another way?

    Thanks for sharing

  4. It’s actually a cool and useful piece of info. I’m glad that
    you simply shared this useful information with us. Please stay us
    up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  5. David

    I had a BIG problem. I did all the steps and everything worked fine. I tried to enter to the server (through remote connection tool of windows) and the credentials did not work. And now, none of the users pc can not connect with the server (sorry my bad english)

  6. Munir

    i have a question, that can i change the domain name which have Under_score
    it is like @domain_name (windows 2003)

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