Changing of Domain names in all the Windows servers and Clients. Any Quick ways?

Dear admins,

My beloved company is acquired by a new boss now he is rebranding the company names and most of the things. As per the name brand name I want to change the domain on all of the domain servers and workstations with the new brand name.

The following are dependent on the domain name and will need to be changed with new names:

  1. 5 Windows Server 2012 Datacenter with DC, DNS, File, etc, and one Windows server 2012 Datacenter essential.
  2. Office 365 tenant name.
  3. Azure AD Sync
  4. Approximately 100 client workstations.

As of now above are all the services that will need to Be changed in my thinking maybe I could be missing anything which can be sorted out later.

So, I am looking for a quick and short way to achieve all of this in a smooth way. So, none of my domains or workstations goes offline. I am fine with any PowerShell script etc.,

Please share your inner thought on this I am sure I am not the first person doing this.


1 Like

Hi @AnthonyD,

Changing the domain name is your existing on premises is not an easy task. You need to be more careful while performing domain rename process. Before starting double check the below things to make sure you did not mess anything.

Below is the following are the critical points you need to consider:

  1. Forest Function Level – Forest Function level must be windows server 2003 or higher to perform AD rename.

  2. Location of the Domain – in forest it can have different level of domains. Those can be either complete different domains or child domains. If you going to change the location of the dc in the forest you must need to create trust relationships between domains to keep the connectivity.

  3. DNS Zone – DNS Zone files must be created for the new domain name prior to the rename process in relevant DNS servers.

  4. Folder Path Change – if DFS folder services or roaming profiles are setup, those paths must change in to server-based share or network share.

  5. Computer Name Change – Once the domain is renamed the computers host names will also renamed. So if those are configured to use by applications or systems make sure you prepare to do those changes.

  6. Reboots – Systems will need to reboot twice to apply the name changes including workstations. So be prepare for the downtime and service interruptions.

  7. Exchange Server Incompatibility – Exchange server 2003 is the only supported version for AD rename. All other versions are not supported for this. Also there can be other applications in environment which can be not supported with rename. Make sure you access these risks.

  8. Certificate Authority (CA) – if CA is used make sure you prepare it.

If you are satisfied and confirmed all of the above steps we need an administrative computer or server to perform the rename process which must be a member of domain and should not a DC and must have “Remote Server Administration Tools” installed on it.


Please follow the detailed steps to rename a Windows server 2016 domain controller. I knew you are using Windows server 2012 but the following steps are very similar and you won’t get confused.

Please follow the steps one by one and let me know if you face any issue during the rename process:

How to rename Domain Controller in Sever 2016

  1. Open Server Manager

  2. Select Role-based or feature-based installation and click Next

  3. Select this server and click Next.

  4. Select Server roles displays: Check Active Directory Domain Services and click Next.

  5. If prompted to install dependencies (such as management tools), say Yes, click Add Features and continue

  6. Skip the features page and click Next

  7. Active Directory Domain Services information page displays. Click Next.

  8. Confirmation displays. Allow the server to restart automatically if needed. Click Install. Click Close.

  9. Wait a few mins and when you check Server manager, you will see an alert in the top right corner. When you click it, you will see Additional steps are required to make this machine a domain controller. Follow this link and select promote this server to a domain controller.

  10. Active Directory Domain Services Configuration Wizard displays

  11. Select Add a new domain controller to an existing domain. Verify the correct domain is listed and a domain admin is listed for the credentials and click Next.

  12. Domain controller options displays. Check Domain Name System (DNS) server and Global Catalog (GC). (these are appropriate for almost all small and medium businesses). Enter a directory services restore mode password and make a note of it. Click Next.

  13. DNS options displays: You may get a warning that the delegation for this DNS server cannot be created… that is very normal. If you don’t get a warning, check Update DNS delegation and click Next.

  14. Additional options displays. You should be able to leave Install from media unchecked. Replication from: pick your best domain controller (or the one with the best network connection). You may want to dcdiag and repadmin /showrepl (run these on an admin command prompt from the other DCs) to verify everything is happy before picking your best DC. Next

  15. Paths: Normally the default is fine unless your organization mandates using multiple disks on servers… (Make sure you have enough room on the paths listed: 100GB+ free) Next

  16. Preparation options: May or may not display… click Next

  17. Review your selections, make sure they look correct, and click Next.

  18. Prerequisites check: Warnings are normal, especially regarding domain functional level, delegation for DNS, and security. Errors are not normal. Click Install if everything looks OK.

  19. The server will reboot. After reboot, give the server some time to replicate active directory and DNS (30 minutes to an hour).

  20. Reboot again to make sure everything is working fine.