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Assigning Domain Names

Updated: March 28, 2003

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

You must assign a name to every domain in your plan. Active Directory domains have two types of names: DNS names and NetBIOS names. In general, both names are visible to end users. The DNS names of Active Directory domains include two parts, a prefix and a suffix. When creating domain names, first determine the DNS prefix. This is the first label in the DNS name of the domain. The suffix is determined when you select the name of the forest root domain. To select the DNS prefix for the domain name:

  1. For each Windows NT 4.0 MUD that you choose to upgrade in place, decide whether the current NetBIOS name of the domain will become its DNS prefix. Review prefix naming rules. If the name is appropriate to represent the region and satisfies the prefix naming rules, it is recommended that you retain the current NetBIOS name. In this case, the NetBIOS name of the domain is the same as the DNS prefix of the domain. Table 2.7 lists the prefix naming rules for DNS names.

    Table 2.7   Rules for Selecting a Prefix for a Registered DNS Name


    Rule Explanation

    Select a prefix that is not likely to become outdated.

    Avoid names such as a business line or operating system that might change in the future. Geographical names are recommended.

    Select a prefix that includes Internet standard characters only.

    A-Z, a-z, 0-9, and (-), but not entirely numeric.

    Include 15 characters or less in the prefix.

    If you choose a prefix length of 15 characters or less, then the NetBIOS name is the same as the prefix.

    If the current NetBIOS name of the domain is inappropriate to represent the region or fails to satisfy the prefix naming rules, select a new prefix. In this case, the NetBIOS name of the domain is different from the DNS prefix of the domain.

  2. For each new domain that you deploy, select a prefix that is appropriate for the region and that satisfies prefix naming rules. It is recommended that the NetBIOS name of the domain be the same as the DNS prefix.

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