Here's my question simply and then the details in case they help to get me an appropriate answer.

Question: How can I completely and permanently delete a user account in Windows 7 so that I can create another one with the same user name without the computer name extension added, eg Jane Smith not Jane Smith.computer name?

The details: I just did a clean install of Windows 7 Professional 32 bit. (My laptop crashed, I reinstalled Vista and restored backup files but things weren't working so I decided to just get Windows 7 since I had to start over anyway).

I used Windows Easy Transfer to save just about everything, even customizing to include a user's appdata from Windows.old which was created when I reinstalled Vista -- not knowing that another windows.old file would be created with the installation of Windows 7. After installing Windows 7, I used Windows Easy Transfer to transfer the user file, appdata, to the new user account which I gave the same name (Jane Smith) in case having a different name would cause problems with reading files or something.

Afterwards, I realized that I did not want ALL of that junk. So, I thought no problem, I'll just delete the user account I just created, nothing lost, and create another one this time transferring only the files I wanted (using the customize option in windows easy transfer).

I wanted to keep the same user name, e.g. Jane Smith, so after I deleted the user account I checked the files, and I didn't see. It was late so I went to bed and the next morning I created a new user with that same name (Jane Smith). The files looked fine if I remember correctly.

Meanwhile, I updated the computer and it restarted a couple times. As I was moving files to the "Jane Smith" user account file, things weren't working as they should. I was actually moving files to the deleted user account and that the current user account was named "Jane Smith.computer name" and that's where the files needed to go.

I don't like this. It's too confusing. I want just "Jane Smith". How can I do this without just changing the user name (which doesn't change it in the file path etc)? I want the first one GONE.

If I can't do this, is it a problem to create an account with another name and still transfer files to it without path or other problems?

I hope this question makes sense and that someone can help me.

Thank you in advance!

  • So what error you are getting now? Have you deleted the user account and backed up data?
    – avirk
    Apr 10, 2012 at 3:36
  • Create a new user account with a different name, log into that account and migrate the old profile to the new one if needed, then delete the old user account, now make a new user account with the name you want, log into it and repeat profile migration.
    – Moab
    Apr 10, 2012 at 21:25

1 Answer 1


This got nothing to do with the username. Whenever the profile cannot be written to, usually due to permission issues, Windows (more to the point the logon provider/winlogon.exe) will automagically create a new folder for you. You could even provoke this. This also seems (or seemed) to happen when a profile hive could not be unloaded or so.


  1. Make sure the permissions are correct (icacls and friends, run as admin)
  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList and find the SID of your user (Sysinternals has a tool to find that) and in the subkey with the SID (will usually end in -1000 and higher on non-domain machines) find the value ProfileImagePath and correct it to whatever you want it to point to.
  3. Log off and back in ...

This has been the same principle ever since NT4. Possible there is a GUI method to achieve the same these days ...

  • I did everything logged in as admin does that make a difference?
    – TeaJay
    Apr 10, 2012 at 3:19
  • It shouldn't as long as the permissions are fixed and the profile in question is not in use (multiple users logged on, that also means non-interactive tasks, such as scheduled ones). Apr 10, 2012 at 3:20
  • Yes, everyone was logged off when I transferred the files. I want make sure I understand your answer (thank you for your prompt response). What do you mean by "correct it to whatever I want it to point to?" Sorry to be so slow about this. This is all new to me and I have noone else to help me and I have spent hours reading forums and tutorials just to get this far.
    – TeaJay
    Apr 10, 2012 at 3:24
  • @TeaJay: you have located the SID of the user you want to change the profile location for, right? You have also located the proper subkey as described in my post? Then simply see the current value of ProfileImagePath and correct that to point to an (existing or not) directory with the desired name. If the directory does not exist, a fresh profile will be created based on the default profile (i.e. all user-specific settings would be lost). Those settings are stored in ntuser.dat underneath the profile folder specified by ProfileImagePath ... must hit the bed now. More tomorrow. Apr 10, 2012 at 3:28
  • Just to clarify (not sure if it matters or not) I have no trouble, that I know of, writing to the profile. "Jane Smith.computer name" works fine. But "Jane Smith" folder still exists under users and I would like it gone and for Jane Smith.computer name to be just "Jane Smith". Would it hurt or change anything if I just deleted the file "Jane Smith"? (I know that you've gone to bed but I thought I'd go ahead and ask in case anyone else is up and answering questions or so you'll see it tomorrow.) Thanks for helping with this.
    – TeaJay
    Apr 10, 2012 at 3:43

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