Calling your computer a nickname sounds cool, and what makes it even more fun is giving it an official name. You must have seen your computer appear with a strange name (like LAPTOP-AE12A1) on your home or work network. This is the name of your computer or device and your user account is different. Have you recently tried changing the name of your PC and recently got the error “The computer name is not valid”? Don’t worry, we’ve been through something similar too and have found some working solutions.
Changing your computer’s name to an easily recognizable name makes it easy for other people and devices to retrieve it over the network. Note that the user account will continue to function normally even if you cannot change the name. Your daily work / your personal life will not be affected. So when you cannot change your computer name and Windows thinks it is invalid, we will help you fix it.
1. Update and restart
This golden tip worked for me from the start. I saved all my work and restarted my computer. Then I tried renaming my PC again and it worked. You should try this first and hopefully this should mostly fix things so you can rename your computer.
If you have delayed pending updates for Windows, you need to install them first and restart your computer. You can do this under Settings> Update & security.
Note: Even if the computer name change was successful, you will still need to restart your computer once for the new name to take effect.
2. Character limits
Your computer name cannot exceed 15 characters. Unfortunately, you can’t even include special characters except hyphens, alphabets (a to z), and numbers (0 to 9). You can try using an alphanumeric name instead of using simpler names or just numbers. You also cannot leave the name field blank. Microsoft does not allow this because a computer name is required to identify it.
3. Disable synchronization
One of the benefits of using a Microsoft account is that it will sync your settings across all devices. It can also prevent renaming your device.
Step 1: Press Windows key + I to open Settings and go to Accounts> Sync your settings.
2nd step: Disable synchronization settings. Wait a few moments before turning it back on. You can also try to rename your PC when sync is off.
4. Command prompt
Step 1: Press Windows key + S to start Windows search and type Command Prompt. Open it with administrator rights by selecting the Run as administrator option.
2nd step: Type the command below and wait for it to run its course. In this command, you must replace the text “New-PC-Name” with the name you want to assign.
wmic computersystem where name=”%computername%” call rename name=”New-PC-Name”
PowerShell users should try this command instead.
Rename-Computer -NewName “New-PC-Name”
5. Remove device from Microsoft account
As surprising as it may sound, this trick has worked for a few users.
Step 1: Sign in to your Microsoft account to find a list of all connected devices. Select the one you are trying to rename.
2nd step: Click Manage and select Remove Laptop / Computer from List to remove it from your Microsoft account.
The change will take a maximum of 24 hours to take effect. Give it a day or two, then change your PC name. Adding your device is simple and works the same, on the same page. Go back to the Microsoft account and click Add a device to begin the process.
6. Local user account
Switching to a local user account and vice versa also helps. You can also try creating a new administrator account if that doesn’t work. The method below will work whether you have a local account or not.
Step 1: Open settings again and go to Accounts. Click on Instead, sign in with a local account link.
2nd step: You will be prompted to enter the current password for the administrator account first. Then you will see a list of all available local accounts. Choose one if you have one or you will be presented with an option to create one first. Just follow the onscreen instructions from here.
7. Integrated administrator account
Most Windows users never find out, but every Windows installation comes with a built-in but hidden administrator account. There is one that is created and visible to you when you install Windows. Not this one. There is another one but often it is disabled by default. Activate this administrator account, then try to rename your PC. Make sure to deactivate or delete this account once you are done. It can be used by hackers to take control of your computer in other ways.
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What’s in the name
Now that you know how to give your computer a name, you will no longer see the terrible “Computer name is not valid” error. Renaming devices makes them easier to identify and connect via the network or with Bluetooth devices. You might have to wait a day if you are using a Microsoft account to sign in to your PC and let the changes take effect as solution # 5. Also, this could be the reason you might have issues. Let us know if you found another easy tip to rename your computer in the comments section below.
Would you like to install Windows apps without setting Microsoft as the default Windows account? Click on the link below to find out how.
Last updated on Nov 26, 2020
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