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The Feature Class Properties dialog box allows an alias name to be entered for feature classes in ArcSDE. This dialog box is accessed by selecting the Properties item in the layer's context menu in ArcCatalog. The following error may occur after typing a new alias and clicking on the Apply or OK button:
"Unable to alter the feature class alias."
Vector data stored in ArcSDE fall into one of two categories: the Feature Class and the SDE Layer. A feature class is an SDE layer, typically created through the ArcSDE Administrative commands such as COV2SDE, SHP2SDE, or SDELAYER, that has been registered with the geodatabase. Only feature classes can implement geodatabase-specific functionality, such as aliases.
SDE Layers can be converted to Feature Classes by registering them with the geodatabase. Once registered, it can be given a new alias.