Suggested Standard for Computer Naming

Names200Churches and small businesses have a lot of ways for naming computers. Johns-PC and SallyMBP are pretty common. Then there are conventions that tie to the Mac address, or the serial number, or the service tag. Each may have it’s place. Let me throw out a suggestion that is clear for users and productive for accounting and IT.

Example: FTC10016dm

FTC: Organization abbreviation. Almost every organization has a shorthand or abbreviated name. By starting with this letter sequence, it’s very easy when browsing the network to see “foreign” machines that are connected.

10: year purchased. Know at a glance approximately how old a machine is. Helps with budgeting, standards, and more. This little tidbit of data in the computer’s name will save you hours of looking up inventory records.

016: serial within that year. The first machine you buy in a year will be 001. next 002, etc. Regardless of machine type, just assign the next sequential number. Many (most) small organizations can get by with just 2 digits. Why not think big anyway?

d: desktop, notebook, Mac, Server, etc. Quickly identify the basic category of machine. If you have iPads and iPods and iPhones and more, you may need to be a bit creative. Or, nothing says you have to devote just a single character. Short is good, too short, maybe not so much.

m: If you have multiple campuses, append a designator that identifies the primary location.

Notice that if a computer changes owners, the name doesn’t change. If a computer changes campuses, only the last components changes. For inventory purposes, the list of assets remains in the same order.

Bonus idea: Put the user’s name in the comment or Computer Description for the computer. When browsing the network with a detailed view, you quickly see who the user is.