3.3. Understanding Name Resolution

To communicate with another computer across a TCP/IP network, you have to know the IP address of the computer you are trying to communicate with. This is unrealistic, considering that you are probably not too interested in trying to memorize all the IP addresses of the different Web sites you visit every day.

When running a TCP/IP network, you assign a friendly name to each computer and reference each computer by the friendly name instead of using the IP address. This means that instead of using an address like 204.56.78.6 to connect to Bob's computer, you would use a friendly name — say, bob.

The two types of names to understand when troubleshooting TCP/IP networks are

  • Computer names (also known as NetBIOS names)

  • Fully qualified domain names (FQDN)

3.3.1. NetBIOS names

In the Windows world, you access resources on a system by connecting to the computer name of the system. As an administrator, you assign a computer name to each computer on the network. The computer name (NetBIOS name) is a friendly name of as many as 15 characters assigned to a computer and used to uniquely identify the computer on the network. Users can then connect to the computer by the computer name or by the IP address — and people find it much easier to remember the computer name!

3.3.1.1. Changing the computer name in Windows

Changing your computer name in Windows is a common task, and is fairly straightforward with today's Windows OSes.

To change your computer name in ...

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