I do a lot of lab work. I use virtual images. I build the base image and then copy/move as needed. Recently, I took an entire lab build and needed to start it on a new VM host.
The first 2008 DC I started told me that I could not rename the NIC because “…a connection with the name specified already exists.”
Found this article here, which fixed me right up. The relevant portions are included for reference.
The following procedure will show no-longer-connected devices in Device Manager for Server 2008.
Open a command window with elevated privileges (Start -> Right-click "Command Prompt", select "Run as Administrator")
In the command window, execute the following commands:
The second command starts the Device Manager. It MUST be started from the elevated-privilege command window for this procedure to work.
In Device Manager, click the VIEW menu item and select "Show hidden devices".
This should show any hidden devices. For network adapters, expand the network adapters node. Right-Click any device you wish to remove, and click Uninstall.