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Windows: Cannot change computer name on domain-joined XP workstation.

October 20, 2010

(quick note:… skip to the bottom if you are getting this message but you are not trying to rename the computer!)

Today I was trying to rename an XP workstation that is joined to our domain and it was refusing to cooperate, by way of a nice error message.

Error Screenshot

Error – Click for larger image

The title of the error window was Computer Name Changes. The message said:

The following error occurred attempting to rename the computer to (the new name). Multiple connections to a server or shared resource by the same user, using more than one user name, are not allowed. Disconnect all previous connections to the server or shared resource and try again..

This was one of those happy moments where you’re blessed with the answer relatively quickly and without a search engine; a feat that just doesn’t happen enough these days.

Although it is probably against best practices, we currently have a file share on our site Domain Controller that is used on our workstations by one of our standard apps. This share was mapped to the user’s workstation using their domain account. When I authenticated with a different account to change the workstation’s name it counted as a second connection to the same server with a different user name. Removing the mapped drive until the workstation was renamed and rebooted resolved the issue. Considering that the error doesn’t really specify what type of connection it is counting, I’m sure I would have been puzzled for a good bit longer had I not just finished re-mapping that drive to fix the issue I was originally called over for.

Hope that helps!


UPDATE: I’ve noticed a lot of people come here just searching for something like “multiple connections to a server or shared.” It is possible to get this error in other conditions than the issue I had so I wanted to elaborate as to what causes it. Basically it means you’ve tried to give your username and password to a server more than once, but you used two different names. The most common cause would be if you were to Map a Network Drive to \\server\share1 as the user john and then tried to map \\server\share2 as a different user. In that case you have tried to authenticate to that one server twice using different names….and as the error is telling you “multiple connections to a server or shared” are simply not allowed. In my case above, the first connection was a mapped drive on a Domain Controller (as the user) and the second one was an attempt to authenticate to that same DC as an admin to rename a computer.

(slightly more in-depth): Note that you can also get this error for ‘workgroup’ servers that are not joined to an AD domain; in that case the usernames just come from the local list instead of AD. (I suppose that when connecting to a server on the domain [that is not a DC] you could even attempt to authenticate once as a local user and once as a domain user, which I assume also would fail for the same reasons as above.)

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