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"Invalid Computer Name" Error when using you H/PC to browse network shares


Applies To

  • Windows CE 2.0, SP1, NSP
  • Windows CE 2.11 (HPC Pro)
  • Windows CE 3.0 (HPC 2000)


When attempting to access a network share using a UNC path in Windows CE Explorer you receive the following error.

Invalid computer name.
Change in communications control panel (must be different from default) and try again.

The error message applies to HPC Pro, HPC2000 and Windows CE 2.0 / 2.0 SP1 with the Network Service Pack (NSP) installed.


Windows CE supports NetBIOS names via ad-hock detection and pooling names in DNS and WINS Servers. While Windows CE does not support inbound Network requests, the Handheld PC must have its own unique name on the network.

As a security precaution, all Windows CE based Handheld PCs are issued by default with a generic Network name:


The network redirector module in Windows CE will not allow network requests using this generic name to prevent network failure. You must manually change the device name of the Handheld PC to a unique name on the network.

The device name or Computer Name must meet the predefined naming conventions described in RFC 1001:

  • 15 alphanumeric characters
  • No blank spaces
  • The following special characters are supported:
    ! @ # $ % ^ & ( ) - _ ' { } . ~

HPC:Factor recommends that the NetBIOS name no longer than 8 characters and not contain special characters unless it is necessary to conform to corporate naming conventions.

To change the Computer Name

  1. Tap Start
  2. Selects Settings and Control Panel
  3. Double tap communications
  4. Select the Device Name tab
  5. In the text box for 'Device Name' enter your custom NetBIOS name
  6. You can optionally add a custom, friendly description