Naming Windows Workgroups and Domains

Avoid peer-to-peer networking issues

Each Windows computer belongs either to a workgroup or a domain. Home networks and other small LANs use workgroups, whereas larger business networks operate with domains. Choosing the proper workgroup or domain name is essential to avoid technical problems when networking Windows computers.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10.

Office settings with many computers

How to Choose a Workgroup or Domain Name

Ensure your workgroups or domains are named appropriately according to the following rules:

  • Ensure each workgroup and domain name is no longer than 15 characters.
  • Ensure no workgroup or domain name contains spaces. Windows ME and earlier versions of Windows do not support workgroups or domains with spaces in the name.
  • Whenever possible, ensure all computers on the LAN use the same workgroup or domain name. Using common workgroups and domains makes it easier to browse the network and avoids security complications when sharing files.

The default workgroup name in Windows 10 is WORKGROUP, but the default varies in older versions of Windows.

  • Ensure the name of the workgroup or domain is different from the name of any computer on the network.
  • Avoid special characters in workgroup and domain names. Do not use these characters when naming Windows workgroups and domains: / \ * , . " @ : ? < > |
  • For simplicity, avoid using lower-case letters in workgroup or domain names.
  • The workgroup name doesn't need to match the network name (SSID) on a Wi-Fi LAN.

How to Create a Workgroup or Domain in Windows

To set or change workgroup and domain names in Windows 10:

  1. Go to the Windows Start menu and select Settings.

  2. In the Find a setting text box, enter System settings and select View advanced system settings.

    View advanced system settings in Windows 10
  3. In the System Properties dialog box, select the Computer Name tab.

    Computer name tab in Windows 10 settings
  4. Select Change.

    Change button in System Properties of Windows 10
  5. In the Workgroup text box, enter a name for the new Workgroup and select OK.

    The Workgroup box highlighted in Windows 10 settings
  6. In the Computer Name/Domain Changes dialog box, select OK.

    OK confirmation in Windows 10 settings
  7. When prompted to restart the computer to apply changes, select OK.

    Restart your computer OK button in Windows 10
  8. Select Close.

    Close button in Windows 10 settings
  9. Choose to Restart Now or Restart Later.

    Restart Now button in Windows 10 settings
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