Changing a user's account name in Windows is a straightforward, easy to achieve task. The problem that many users experience after changing the name is that the name of the profile folder is not changed during the process. Say you have a user account Martin and a user profile folder under c:\users\Martin. If you change the account name from Martin to Bob, you will see Bob during login. The user folder under c:\users is however still named Martin and not Bob.
So what can you do if you want to change both the account user name and the folder name of the user profile?
Here is a step by step guide on how to change a user's name and profile folder name under Windows 7. Please note that the old user name will still be used by some Windows Tools, permissions come to mind.
It is recommended to create a backup or at least a system restore point before you start the process, as it requires some basic Registry hacking.
You will also lose your current theme which you should backup as well if you want to continue using it.
You need to create a new administrator account to execute all the commands. You cannot use the account that you want to change the user name for. If you only have one account you need to create on first that you can delete again after you have made all the changes. If you have a secondary standard account you can temporarily promote the account to administrator for the process.
Click on Start, then Control Panel. Select Add or Remove user accounts from the options and click the Create a new account link. Name the account and switch to Administrator before you click on Create Account.
While we are at it; You can now change the visible user name of the user account that you want to change the name for. Click the Change your account name link in the user account view if you are logged into the account you want to change the name for.
If not click on manage another account, select it from the list and then pick the Change the account name option.
You can now log out of the current account. We have created a second administrator account and changed the visual name of the user account. Log into the admin account that you have just created or promoted afterwards.
Open Windows Explorer or another file browser and open the users folder that you want to rename on the main drive. The folder is usually located under c:\users. Locate the folder of the profile that you want to rename, right-click it and select Rename from the options. Enter the new name and press enter after you are finished. You may see an UAC prompt that you need to accept.
The user folder has been renamed, but you need to edit the Registry setting as well as the old folder path is still stored in the Registry. You would get profile not found errors if you would now try to log into the old user account.
Open the Windows Registry editor with the shortcut Windows-r, then regedit and the enter key.
Navigate to the following Registry key:
You find several S-1-5-xx folders in there. You need to click on each folder until you find the the ProfileImagePath folder with the data set to the profile path of the old username, e.g. c:\Users\Martin.
You may want to use the search (by pressing f3) if you find many Registry sub folders there.
Double-click the ProfileImagePath name and enter the path to the new user folder into the form, e.g. c:\Users\Bob
You can now log out of the admin account and log in to the original user account. You will notice that the account name is now displaying the new name. Once logged in you will also notice that the folder under Users is now showing the new folder name that you have selected.
And that's basically how you change both the account user name and the user folder on Windows 7.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.