Pre-specifying the computer name for Windows PE

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 9 March 2011 / Last Updated on 25 Jan. 2010]

Here's a tip on how you can pre-specify the computer name for Windows PE.

Here's a tip on how you can pre-specify the computer name for Windows PE. By default, Windows PE randomly generates a computer name each time it initializes on a system. The randomly-generated computer name is of the form MININT-####### where ####### is a randomly-generated alphanumeric string.

In some scenarios however you may want the Windows PE computer name to be pre-specified. To do this, create an unattend.xml answer file like this:


This example assumes you are using a 64-bit version of Windows PE and that you want the Windows PE computer name to be SNOOPY. Then, when you build your Windows PE environment, copy this answer file to the \ISO folder of your Windows PE build folder. Now, when you boot a system using Windows PE it will use the answer file to set the computer name. Specifically, when wpeinit runs it will apply the customizations you have specified in your answer file. Note that you can also apply such customizations manually from within Windows PE by running the wpeinit /unattend:\unattend.xml command, but this won't work for setting the computer name since this must be done at startup and cannot be done after Windows PE has initialized.

If you have feedback concerning this tip, please email me. And be sure to check out my website!

The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, networking, and security. He has been repeatedly awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status by Microsoft for his outstanding contributions in supporting users who deploy and use Microsoft platforms, products and solutions. Mitch has published over two hundred articles on different IT websites and magazines, and he has written or contributed to almost two dozen books and is lead author for the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. For more information, see .

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