How to fix “The PC name is invalid” error in Windows 11

Your PC name is a set of distinctive characters that designates your device from others within a network. Although your PC comes with a default name, changing it to reflect a more personal perspective can make it easily identifiable among other devices.

However, you may run into a problem trying to accomplish this. An example is seeing the “Invalid PC name” error message displayed on your screen. This can be quite frustrating as it prevents you from renaming your PC.

As a result, this article will examine the factors that could cause this problem, as well as the methods to resolve it.

What this error means and why you might encounter it

The words “invalid PC name” may imply the nullity of the name you are trying to enter into the name field. But sometimes, not quite literally. The error can appear even when your name meets the character specification, therefore the result of a completely different problem.

Usually, this error message will indicate that something is wrong with your PC settings or settings. Or, it could be a problem with bugs, in which case you may need to update your PC to fix things.

In any case, here are some preliminary checks to perform before getting into the main solutions:

1. Pending updates

As mentioned above, the problem could arise due to a system error, preventing your PC from working as it should. Therefore, a simple update could be the solution you need to be able to change the name of your PC.

To check for updates on your PC, go to settings by clicking on start or enter the shortcut win + me. Then click windows update from the left sidebar.

Screenshot showing Windows 11 update settings

You will see a list of pending updates and you can click on any of them to install them. Once your PC is up to date, go back to System Settings and try renaming your PC to see if that works.

2. Character limits and use of special characters

Screenshot showing the Rename your PC field in Windows 11

Generally, your PC name should be limited to 15 characters and can only use letters, hyphens, or numbers. Therefore, the use of special characters, characters other than alphabets or numbers, will invalidate your choice of name. Some examples are punctuation marks and symbols.

You should also avoid using spaces. As a first step, review the name you want to use and make sure it meets the character specifications. Otherwise, it will necessarily be impossible to rename your PC.

3. Check if you are currently logged in as an administrator

Certain mods and changes can be implemented only at the administrator level, which requires logging into an administrator account on your PC. Renaming your PC is one such case, and using an account without administrator rights could be the reason you’re experiencing the problem.

So one of the things you might want to check when you encounter this problem is your account status. To do this, open the start menu and click on the user icon in the lower left corner of the screen.

Screenshot showing the Windows 11 account settings menu in the Start menu

Then click Change account settings.

Screenshot showing Windows 11 account settings

You will see the current status of your account below your profile details in the upper left corner of your screen.

After running the 3 preliminary checks above, if your PC is still encountering this error, it might be time to try something else. In cases like this, you can try the following troubleshooting methods:

1. Restart your PC

The first course of action when running into minor computer problems is usually to enable a restart. Without a doubt, restarting your PC is a great way to refresh your computer and get things back in action.

As such, if you’re having a problem trying to rename your PC, consider using the reset button to restore normalcy to your computer. Also, this will help install any pending updates (if you haven’t already).

To restart your PC, click on the Begin and then the power icon at the bottom right of the menu. Hit Resumeand wait for your PC to turn back on.

Screenshot showing Windows 11 shutdown options in the Start menu

2. Create a new user account

If the error still doesn’t go away, you can try creating a new account (with administrative rights) and then try renaming your PC.

Do this by locating Control Panel via the search bar on your Taskbar.

Screenshot showing the control panel

Then click User account.

Screenshot showing user account settings in control panel

Then click Add or remove user accounts.

Screenshot showing how to add a new user account in the control panel

After this, click on Add a new user in PC settings.

Screenshot showing Windows 11 account settings (2)

Finally, click on the Add Account icon.

3. Disable preference sync on your devices

Preference settings synchronization is an important feature that Windows offers. When you use multiple devices with your Microsoft account, your preferences and settings are harmonized across all your devices without having to reset each one individually.

While useful, it could also present a potential problem when renaming your PC, so you might consider disabling it while you’re at it.

To do this, go to Settings > Accounts > Windows Backup.

Screenshot showing Windows 11 sync settings

Then turn off the remember my preferences option to disable synchronization.

4. Use Windows PowerShell

Finally, you can resolve the “Invalid PC name” error by running a command in Windows PowerShell. In the search bar, type Windows PowerShell, and once the app appears, select Execute as an administrator.

Screenshot showing Windows Powershell in the search bar

Once you have clicked Yeah in the confirmation dialog, PowerShell will appear. Then type the command Rename – Computer – NewName “New Name” where the words in quotes are replaced with the name you want to rename your PC.

For example, if I wanted to change my PC name to “MakeUseOf”, I would type Rename-Computer -NewName “MakeUseOf” As shown below:

Screenshot showing Powershell command to change PC name

Personalize your Windows 11 experience easily

Changing the name of your PC is vital, even more so when you work within a computer network. Not only is it a great way to personalize your PC, but it also makes it easy to distinguish between other devices. But what happens when you run into an error while trying to do it?

We’ve presented possible reasons why the invalid name error might appear on your computer, as well as quick fixes to help make this change possible. It goes without saying that the process does not have to be interrupted by this error; following the instructions above will make all the difference.