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How to Change the Name of a Windows Network Workgroup

There’s no magic to creating a workgroup. Out of the box, Windows assigns your PC to a workgroup named WORKGROUP, or possibly MSHOME. You can stick with those names. In fact, that’s probably what you’re doing now on your computer. Or, you can change the names of the workgroup. Here’s how:

  1. Press the Win+Break key combination to summon the System window or System Properties dialog box.

  2. Activate the Computer Name dialog box.

    • In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, click the Change Settings link in the Computer Name area.

    • In Windows XP, click the Computer Name tab in the System dialog box.

  3. In Windows Vista, type the administrator’s password or click the Continue button.

  4. Click the Change button.

    Another dialog box appears.

  5. Type a new workgroup name.

    In Windows 7 or Vista, you may need to choose the Workgroup option first.

    Workgroup names should contain only letters and, possibly, some numbers. The name cannot contain any spaces, and Windows converts the name into ALL CAPS no matter what you type.

  6. Click OK.

    After a few seconds, you see a dialog box welcoming you to the workgroup.

  7. Click OK.

    Windows begs you to restart your PC, which is necessary for the computer to really join the workgroup.

  8. Click OK to dismiss the dialog box.

  9. Restart your computer.

After your computer is restarted, it belongs to the new workgroup. The workgroup affects networking on your PC as far as which network computers show up in the Network window.

  • Ensure that all computers connected to the network use the same workgroup name.

  • To join a workgroup, enter the workgroup name as described.

  • If you have trouble joining a workgroup, check the name; it must be spelled exactly.

  • There’s no reason to change the workgroup name from WORKGROUP or MSHOME. More important than resetting the workgroup name is to ensure that your network is properly identified as public or private.

  • Nonetheless, you may want to change the network name for your laptop. At a public wireless hot spot, everyone using the Windows default names are in the same workgroup. This may present privacy or security concerns.

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