Host name

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Every system connected to the Internet or IP-based networks in general likes to have a host name. We say 'like' since it is not strictly necessary as the basic communication works via IP addresses only. However, most applications and best practices require a unique DNS host name to be assigned to every machine. If you do not want to read on and simply want to set the DNS host name to "X", then please navigate to the Network parameters, set the "Host name" parameter to "X", save and reboot. If on the other hand you want to do something like "all machines from this group should have similar hostnames starting with Y", then please do read on - this use case is covered well with the prefix parameter.

Note: This article refers to DNS host names, DNS being the Domain Name System. It does not refer to the Windows WINS names.

Our recommendation is to not change the host name at all, unless you have very specific reasons to do so. There is little value in encoding e.g. asset tags into the host names as you can query asset tags via NoTouch Center. Also, with NoTouch's Identify feature, it is not necessary to use the host name in helpdesk situations. Most people change the host names because they have corporate policies or very specific technical reasons.

Note: Speaking about NoTouch Center. In NoTouch Center you can change the name/description under which the machine appears in the client tree. This name/description does not have to be equal to the DNS host name. You can maintain different values.

Automatically self-assigned host names

By default, NoTouch instances will automatically self-assign a host name starting with the "NTD" prefix (earlier versions used "LIS") followed by the system's first Ethernet card's MAC address. This guarantees globally unique host names for all NoTouch instances. The basic idea is:

   prefix + (variable portion) + suffix

You can modify the generator mechanisms by supplying your own prefix and suffix and choosing between various ways how to fill in the "middle", the variable part. In case nothing appears useful to you, please see below - you can simply set the host name to the value you want it to be. The following parameters will only be evaluated if the "Hostname" parameter is empty (default). The parameters used for the automatic host name generation are:

  • Host name generation mode. This parameter controls how the host name should be generated. By default, the system's MAC address will be used as reference. The following options are available:
    • MAC address. Use the MAC address of the first found Ethernet adapter, if none found, the MAC address of the first Wireless LAN adapter. Colons are stripped from the text string.
    • Asset tag. The DMI BIOS stored asset tag value will be used. Any Whitespaces are stripped.
    • Serial number. The DMI BIOS stored "system serial number" value will be used. Any Whitespaces are stripped. In most PC systems this is actually identical to the asset tag.
    • Random. A random string that changes with every reboot will be used.
    • Random persistent. A random string will be used. The random string will be generated once and then saved and reused after reboot (that's why it is called "persistent").
    • UUID. A random string in the form of a random UUID that changes at every reboot will be used.
    • UUID persistent. A random string in the form of a random UUID will be used. The random string will be generated once and then saved and reused after reboot (that's why it is called "persistent").
    • Script /config/gen_hostname. [Advanced]. A custom script, assumed to be written by you, copied to and existing on the target machine, valid, stored as /config/gen_hostname and marked executable, will be executed on the client and its standard output stream will be read and used as host name.
  • Host name prefix. The prefix of the host name. Default: NTD (short for NoTouch Desktop). Whatever you enter here will be the beginning of the generated host name, prepended to the generated/variable portion.
  • Host name suffix. The suffix of the host name. Default is empty. Whatever you enter here will be the end of the generated host name, appended to the generated/variable portion.

Also you can supply custom scripts - this method is for advanced users with programming capabilities, but it gives you every freedom you could wish for: Scripting interface#Parameter default values

Editing the host name

You can assign your own host names by entering the configuration, navigating to the "Network" group and changing the "Host name" parameter. The absolutely same procedure applies to NoTouch Center: navigate to the "Network" group and change the Host name parameter. This parameter requires a reboot to become effective. Once you set the "Host name" parameter, only that value is used and no "automatic generation" (see above) will be done.

More information on this is available here: Network configuration

Please note that it makes only sense to apply this setting to one machine. If you assign it to a group in NoTouch Center, all member machines will have the same host name (not desireable).

Microsoft Dynamic DNS mechanism

NoTouch machines are generally not members of an Active Directory installation. Thus, to have them being registered automatically in your Microsoft DNS, you need to assign the correct privileges to your Microsoft DHCP server, so that the DHCP server will register the host names on the clients' behalf.