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Windows 7: User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name



User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name

How to Change the User Folder Name of a User Profile in Windows 7
Published by Brink
28 Feb 2011
Published by

How to Change the User Folder Name of a User Profile in Windows 7


information   Information
Normally, you could change your account name in User Accounts from the Control Panel (icons view), but that still would not change your accoun's user profile folder name in C:\Users.

This will show you how to change your account name and change the user profile folder name of any user account, including the built-in Administrator account (if enabled), in Windows 7 without losing anything in that user account. This will affect the user account's name for the C:\Users\(user-name) folder, Start Menu, Log on screen, Welcome screen, etc......

You must be logged in as an administrator, and is a different account than the account you are changing the name of to be able to do this tutorial.

Note   Note
Since all old names and new names are always tied to the same user account, you will still have the same permissions and ownership settings of your files in the new name from the old name of the user account.

Since all old names and new names are always tied to the same user account, you will see the original name of the user account along with the new name listed in permissions. This is how the account will always retain it's permissions no matter how many times you rename it using the method in this tutorial.

The only true way to remove the old name of the user account is to create a new account of the same type (standard or administrator) as the old one, then delete the old user account while logged in the new one. Be sure to backup anything that you do not want to lose from the old account first though. For example, shortcuts, Start Menu shortcuts, files inside the user folders, etc....

User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-permissions-1.jpgName:  Permissions-2.jpg
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warning   Warning
Since editing a user profile and the registry can mess up Windows 7 if a mistake is made, it is highly advisable to create a restore point before doing this tutorial. This way if you make a mistake, you will be able to simply do a system restore to select and go back to this restore point to undo the mistake.




Here's How:
1. Log on to the user account (ex: Old Name) that you want to change the name of.

2. Save the current theme (ex: Old Name) for this user account. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: This is so that you will be able to change the theme back to this current theme in step 24 below later.
User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-save_theme.jpg
3. If you have any files or folders in your C:\Users\(user-name) profile folder that are set to be shared, then you will need to temporarily set them to not be shared for now. After you finish renaming the user profile folder name, you could set them to be shared again in step 26.

4. Log off the user account that you want to change the name of. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: If you do not have another administrator account to use, then create a new administrator account first, then log off. When finished with the tutorial, you can delete this newly created account.
Name:  Log_Off.jpg
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5. Log on to an administrator account that is not the user account that you want to change the name of.

6. Open Windows Explorer, navigate to C:\Users, open the Users folder, right click on the user profile folder (ex: Old Name) that you want to change the name of, and click on Rename. (see screenshot below)
User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-step1.jpg
7. Type in the name (ex: New Name) that you want this user account's folder to have now and press Enter. Close the Windows Explorer window. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: If you are not able to rename the user folder for some reason (ex: in use), then boot into Safe Mode and try again.
User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-step2.jpg
8. If prompted, click on Continue and Yes (UAC) to approve renaming the user folder.

9. Open the Start Menu, and type regedit in the search box and press Enter.

10. If prompted by UAC, then click on Yes.

11. In regedit, navigate to the location below. (see screenshot below)
Code:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-step3.jpg
12. In the left pane of regedit, expand Profilelist, and select each long number S-1-5-.... key one by one until your see the user account name (ex: Old Name) that you want to change the name of included in the Data column of ProfileImagePath in the right pane. (see screenshot above)

13. In the right pane of the long number S-1-5-.... key for the user account (ex: Old Name) that you want to change the name of, right click on ProfileImagePath, and click on Modify. (see screenshot below.
User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-step6.jpg
14. Change only the name (ex: Old Name) in the full path to the name (ex: New Name) that you want for the user account, and click on OK. (see screenshot below)
Name:  Step5.jpg
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15. Close regedit.

16. Open the Control Panel (icons view), and click on the User Accounts icon.

17. Click on the Manage another account link. (see screenshot below)
User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-step7.jpg
18. Click on the user account (ex: Old Name) that you want to change the name of. (see screenshot below)
User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-step8.jpg
19. Click on the Change the account name link. (see screenshot below)
User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-step9.jpg
20. Type in the name (ex: New Name) that you want for the user account instead, and click on Change Name. (see screenshot below)
User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-step10.jpg
21. You will notice that the user account has been renamed (ex: New Name). Close the Change an Account window. (see screenshot below)
User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-step11.jpg
22. If this is for the built-in "Administrator" account, then do OPTION TWO in the tutorial link below to also rename the built-in Administrator account in the Local Security Policy Editor. Otherwise, skip this step and continue on to step 23 instead.
NOTE: The Local Security Group Policy Editor will only be available in the Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterpise editions.
Built-in Administrator Account - Change Name

User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-secpol-1.jpg
23. Log off, then log on to the now completely renamed user account (ex: New Name) from step 1. (see screenshot below)
User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-step12.jpg
24. When you log on to the renamed user account (ex: New Name) for the first time, you will notice that the desktop background wallpaper is now solid black. This is normal. Change the theme from the black Unsaved Theme to the theme (ex: Old Name) that you saved in step 2. This will restore the theme now. (see screenshot below)
User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name-theme-2.jpg
25. If you check the user profile folder in C:\Users, you will notice that it is still renamed with the new name (ex: New Name). (see screenshot below step 21)

26. If you had to create a new administrator account at step 4 to do this tutorial with, then you can now delete this newly created account if you like. This is not the New Name account.

27. If you had to set files to not be shared in step 2, then you can set them to be shared again if you like.
That's it,
Shawn





Related Tutorials

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02 Mar 2011   #1
Arc

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit SP 1
 
 

Great work Shawn ! It will help a lot of users .

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

02 Mar 2011   #2
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Thank you Archie. I hope that it does.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2011   #3
rogerwilker

windows 7 ultimate 32bit
 
 
Change user account fold name

I can't change the user account folder name. When I attempt to I receive a warning message that the folder name can't be changed because it has files shared with other users.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2011   #4
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Roger, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Yeah, you will need to temporarily set any files/folders in the user profile folder that you have set to share to not be shared for now. After renaming the user profile folder name, you could set them to be shared again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jun 2011   #5
rogerwilker

windows 7 ultimate 32bit
 
 

OK, finally and successfully changed the old user name folder(Roger's) to new name(Rogers) per the instructions above. Now loads into correct desktop etc.
However,when I attempt to run Outlook or excel or word, I get the following error message:the path specified for the file(it is still showing the old users folder of Roger's\documents\outlook\files\roger@....com.pst is not valid.

So Outlook and excel or still looking in the Roger's folder for app files. How do I change this?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jun 2011   #6
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Roger,

Reinstalling Outlook and Excel should be able to sort it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jun 2011   #7
rogerwilker

windows 7 ultimate 32bit
 
 

Thanks for the tip. I tried to do a repair in Outlook and the Windows 7 installer. Did not work. However, did go into the registry and make the changes to the user profile folders per the instructions above. That solved the problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jun 2011   #8
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

That's great news Roger. Thank you for posting back with your results and solution.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jul 2011   #9
adi009

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Hi,
I tried following this tutorial, but when I got to Step 7 (renaming the user account folder from a different user account with administrator settings) an error message comes up saying that the action can't be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program. I restarted the computer and logged on directly into the new account, but I still get the same message.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 User Profile Folder - Change User Account Folder Name




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