I have always been curious to see how hard it was to rename an active directory domain name, but never really had a reason to do it. Generally you move to clean domain, as it has issues with Exchange Servers 2007+.

Finally a time has occurred when I can do this in my environment as I do not run Exchange at this time, and I can update to WiseOwlit.com from my current Wolflab.local domain. Which will help with documentation and images for guides.


First have to make sure you meet the prerequisites:

1. Correct 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. 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.

7. Certificate Authority (CA) – Prepare your CA Servers,- https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc816587

8. Multiple Reboots Required – Systems will need to reboot twice to apply the name changes.

Ensure you have a Server that is not a Domain Controller, with RSAT installed

Make sure you have a Member server that has RSAT, so it looks like the following:


Pre-configure your DNS Zone for the domain rename

Make sure to create a forward lookup DNS zone for your new domain name,


Lets begin the rename.

On your member server where you have prepared your RSAT tools, ensure you are logged in as a Domain Administrator and run Command Prompt as an Administrator. Run the command – rendom /list

This will create a Domainlist.XML file where you have run the command, in my example it’s in my System32 folder.

Edit the Domainlist.XML file to make the changes to upload your new domain name. Make sure to save your change

Before Rename:

After Rename:

Next write Rendom /upload, in your command prompt you used previously.

Next run the Domain Readiness checkn using Rendom /Prepare. 

Once confirmed successful, it’s time to upload the changes. Using Rendom /Execute. Please also note this will reboot the domain controllers automatically.


Confirm the change was successful,

When reviewing your DC Server name, you can confirm the domain is correct but need to readjust the full computer name.

This is a simple Primary DNS Suffix setting, doing this also requires the machine to reboot.



But what if you need to change the full name, like in my Example it’s wolf-dc01, I want this to be Owl-DC01. When you rename a domain controller, it requires manually changing it. Where as other machines on the network, with a few reboots will get the correct domain name.

You can run the following commands on the DC:

This will Add an alt name to your Server

netdom computername Wolf-DC01.wolflab.local /add:Owl-DC01.WiseOwlIT.com

Next run:

netdom computername Wolf-DC01 /makeprimary:Owl-DC01.WiseOwlIT.com

Now reboot your DC,confirm the name change was successful. As next we will fix up the Group Policy.

Run command Prompt as an admin, once again.

Run the following:

gpfixup /olddns:Wolflab.local /newdns:WiseOwlIT.com

Next run – gpfixup /oldnb:Wolflab /newnb:WiseOwlIT – if you changed the netbios name.

Once everything is completed and you are happy with the ressults, we go back to the member server and run rendom /end,  to unfreeze the DC and things will resume as per normal.


Please let me know what you think of this guide, took a decent amount of time and I hope it was helpful.