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How do I change my Windows 7 user name?

When I look under C:\users\user, I know I am user. But my name in Control Panel → User Accounts is set to David.

My wife also has access to my PC. Her name is displayed correctly i.e. C:\Users\Clare and is listed in user accounts as Clare. Why is there a variation?

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When Windows creates accounts the folders are created based on the user name. It creates the "user" folder by default.

What most likely happened when you got the computer is that you changed the Account name to "David". Windows made this change, but kept the folder structure related to that account. So you log into "David", but all your folders are still pointing to "user".

When your wife's account was created, her account was created with the name "Clare". Therefore when her folders were generated, they began with the "Clare" structure in place.

You can change the folder name, but it is a detailed process that you should only do if you feel comfortable. Taken from Windows 7 Forums

  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.

  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.

  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)

  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.

  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

  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.

  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)

  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)

  18. Click on the user account (ex: Old Name) that you want to change the name of. (see screenshot below)

  19. Click on the Change the account name link. (see screenshot below)

  20. Type in the name (ex: New Name) that you want for the user account instead, and click on Change Name. (see screenshot below)

  21. You will notice that the user account has been renamed (ex: New Name). Close the Change an Account window. (see screenshot below)

  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

  23. Log off, then log on to the now completely renamed user account (ex: New Name) from step 1. (see screenshot below)

  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)

  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.

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Thanks JKM but can I change the "user" to David? – user183065 Dec 28 '12 at 6:37
You can, but it's a very detailed process and if you mess up the registry part, it can screw up the computer.… – JKM Dec 28 '12 at 6:57

If you don't mind maybe having to re-install some of the software you use, what you can do is create a new administrator account (under accounts in cpanel) with the right name you like.

Then, go to C:\users\user (old account directory) and copy all files and folders (this will incluse some settings for some programs, your pictures, videos, etc...) and paste them to the new location you just created, C:\users\david.

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