The background: my sister's computer was so riddled with spy- and malware that she wanted to reformat and start with a fresh install of Windows. Her then-boyfriend (let's call him "Andy") assured her that he'd be able to get it done. I'm not sure whether he tried to do it himself and just wasn't able to, or if this was his plan from the beginning, but Andy actually wound up giving the computer to a friend of his to reformat. Let's call the friend Bob. Bob reformatted the computer, reinstalled Windows XP Home edition, and set up a user account... all in Andy's name, because Bob didn't know this was actually my sister's computer. Bob then told Andy that this service would cost him $100. Andy passed the computer and the charge back to my sister, who grudgingly paid it.

Four months later, Andy and my sister are no longer speaking. My sister is tired of her "My Documents" folder and all of her Office programs claiming to belong to Andy, and she's pretty steamed that Andy is listed as the computer owner. She'd like me to fix this for her. While she figured out how to change her user profile to display her own name, when I opened the Task Manager, it still lists Andy as the active user.

So: how do I change the computer's registration to list my sister rather than her dopey ex-boyfriend as the owner, administrator, document-holder, et cetera? Just changing the username on the account isn't enough; when I try to rename the Andy folder in Documents and Settings, it says that it's "a Windows system folder and is required for Windows to run properly. It cannot be moved or renamed." ...help?


You will first need to turn on hidden files. From any explorer window, navigate to:

Tools -> Folder Options

Under the "View" tab, Check "Show hidden files and folders" and then hit apply.

Now, under "Andy's Documents", you will see a file called desktop.ini. Open it and you will find a line that says owner=Andy. Change the name to the user account you wish.

  • Excellent. I sent her your solution, but I suspect she's just going to bring the computer with her when she gets into town a couple weeks from now. We'll see if this works! – jsnlxndrlv Aug 21 '09 at 4:21

Copy the files off to another disk, reformat and reload... Plus, gives a sense of finally getting rid of "Andy" for good.


Microsoft KB310441: How to Change Name and Company Information After You Install Windows XP.

This should effect a low-level change in the Windows XP
to change the associations to the username Andy to the new name string.

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