What are the requirements for the "machine name?"

When choosing a new name for your computer, keep the following things in mind:

If at all possible, try to choose a name that is uniquely descriptive of the machine, e.g. gh-203-bobm, or bh-210-hp3210. The only "special character" you are allowed to use is a "-" (hyphen). Other than that character, only numbers and letters are allowed (no spaces). Technically you are allowed to use up to 63 characters in the machine name, but you should try to keep the machine name a reasonable length, not too long but not too short either. Examples: "pf-186-printer" is fine; "pf_187*printer" is NOT because of the "_" (underscore) character and the "*" (asterisk); "pf 187 printer" is also unacceptable because it has spaces. "fe" or "ti" are too short to be descriptive and would match random text within the Domain Name Service host names file thus introducing administrative hurtles.

Second, you should ensure that the name you are choosing is not already in use. The easiest way is to issue the Ping command against your 'machinename'. E.g. in command line window enter "ping 'machinename'". If it comes back with an IP address then you know the name is taken. Another way, is to use the 'nslookup' command which may vary depending on the Operating System. In a command line window type "nslookup 'machinename'" where 'machinename' is the name you are considering (e.g., "nslookup granite"). If it comes back with a message like ". . . can't find 'machinename':Non-existent host/domain" then your name choice is probably not already in use. However, if it comes back with a 'machinename' and IP address (e.g., Name: granite.Mines.EDU / Address:, then the name you checked is already in use and you should pick another one. If you are uncertain of this process or would just rather not deal with it, go ahead and submit your first choice (but you might have a "backup," second choice name ready just in case). If there is a conflict, a CCIT staff member will get back to you.