Naming your computer

If you would have asked someone a couple of years ago the name of their computer they might have looked at you funny. Today we have more and more home users that have home networks with multiple computers. The moment you want to share files between them the fun of finding out what the computer name begins.

For most people this is an easy task, they don’t even have to look, the list auto populates for them letting them know what the computer is, but what if the computer is named XP993809 and the are 3 others like that. The person that is not computer savvy might have to call some kind of tech support. Finding the name is actually not that difficult in most operating systems. The questions is, what should we name them?

In a corporate environment I have seen almost everything. From Simpsons characters to Godzilla adversaries, I have seen some colorful names. I think this is the wrong way to name servers unless you have less than 10 or you are the only one that needs to know like Mike @ gaucho soft. He recently implemented some new servers for his weather solution Seasonality with names that mean something to him.

I believe that is the approach that everyone should take at home. Make the computer names something that is easy to remember and means something to you. If everyone in your family has a laptop, then name them accordingly. If you only have a couple of computers and many people use them, use the location of the computer or a physical characteristic.

In the end this seems like a very trivial thing, however, like always remembering to back up and changing your password, it will not seem trivial once you actually need it and it might save you some time.

13 comments on “Naming your computer

  1. I’m with you on this one, Logtar. The names of your home computers should have some kind of personal significance to you. For example, all of my home computers are named after my favorite porn stars.

  2. I’ve been naming my computers since the late 90’s.
    I mostly named them after Sonic the Hedgehog characters during the time I was hosting a childrens chatroom baised on the lovable cartoon/videogame characters.
    Even though I don’t host these sites any more, I still name my computers accordingly.

  3. I agree on the lameness of character names for servers and workstations. In my corporate WAN, I name the machines appropriately. They are named according to the Username, Model, and OS. For example, my workstation is named Travis_D900T_XP. With this name, I can see who the user is, what kind of machine they are using and the OS. The Server hostnames are similar to their function. Ex2k3 is the Exchange Server, for example.

    Naming your home machine is not as important, but a good description can help. Especially true if you have more than one computer on your home workgroup. More importantly is the naming of the workgroup itself. The default ‘Workgroup’ or ‘MSHome’ should probably be changed to something more unique. You should always make sure you have adequate firewalls, private non-routable IP addresses behind your Router, and at least 128-bit encryption on your WiFi passkeys. Futhermore, strong login passwords will contain at least 8 characters and include letters (caps and lowercase,) numbers, and special characters. You can even take an easy word or phrase and make it complex. For example if your password is ‘password’ you can make it more secure by changing it to ‘P@ssW0rd’ instead. Same word, but now you have added caps, special chars, and numbers.

  4. You should spell out to those not in the know HOW TO CHANGE the name of their computer/network computers.

    btw– @ Emawkc….what are the names of said porn stars?

  5. I think at some point most of us have named a computer “Hal”.

    If I name my computers, I tend to name them after Invader Zim characters (Gir, Zim, Dib, etc…)

  6. Thanks Travis for telling the world my ‘P@ssW0rd’ ! LOL!

    My laptop is called my Boyfriend. The hubby doesn’t seem to mind him.

  7. You guys are no fun at all. It is way more cool and interesting for the servers to have fun names!! At the last place I worked, they named the servers after Seinfeld characters. Of course, the mail server was…….Neuman. =)

  8. In my corporate job, we have standardized naming conventions. For PCs and Laptops that lets us know the user, and where they are. For servers it gives location (altho you have to look up the codes) and function.

    At home I go with themes. For instance my home network was once Springfield, my laptop Bart, and my PC Homer.

  9. I’m usually the Mac Admin so I name them whatever I want– last couple server names were


    p.s. thanks for posting the links

  10. We had a unix guy who named all of the print queues after fish. It was fine until the company grew and we ran out of fish names.

    Also, we had a seperate spreadsheet to keep up with who’s queue was who’s.


    Corporate companies need a standard naming convention that mean something.

  11. At my work we used to use a lot of weather names for servers (thunder, mistral, tempest, mistral, etc.) and muppets for routers (piggy, kermie, etc.), and poisonous animals for workstations (adder, wasp, asp). That has mostly fallen apart, as more people had to rapidly ascertain the purpose of more diverse and specialized gear, so now we have names like and c.auth-ns. My workstation is still wyvern, though.

    For keeping track of what all each employee has at his or her desk, our internal IT guy has this high-tech solution called a “list.”

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