After renaming my user folder (e.g. from c:\Users\somethingelse to c:\Users\trusktr) and now my task bar shortcuts (among other things) are gone.

I've looked in C:\Users\trusktr\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar and I see all my old shortcuts there, and in fact, if I make a new one it shows up there too. Is there some way to fix it other than just deleting them all and starting over (not like it'd be too hard, but just curious, so starting over wouldn't actually be the answer)?

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    Is this the only thing you did to "rename" your user? This is just a folder on your harddrive, and changing the name doesn't rename your user at all. If anything, now Windows can't find your user's files--- which seems to be the exact issue you're having. – Darth Android Feb 27 '14 at 23:30
  • Well I can log in just fine and all my Documents, Pictures, everything, are just fine in Explorer. I made sure to change the values in the registry to match my new user folder name, no errors when logging in (e.g. no "temporary profile" error). – trusktr Feb 27 '14 at 23:33
  • How exactly did you perform this. Your user profile folder is protected while in use. – Ramhound Feb 27 '14 at 23:41
  • @Ramhound I logged in as another user who has administrator privileges (after first signing out of my use in question). – trusktr Feb 28 '14 at 0:49
  • @Ramhound I did exactly like in the Windows 8 suggestion in Maxx Daymon's answer. – trusktr Feb 28 '14 at 0:56

Renaming your user folder will break both obvious and non-obvious links, permissions, and registry keys. In the future, you can refer to How to Rename a Windows 7 User Account and Related Profile Folder (essentially the same for Windows 8) or similar guide to rename your account through the proper APIs, giving everything a change to properly update and reconnect to the profile.

Check permission differences on the shortcuts. You can also use a tool such as SysInternals Process Monitor to watch the folder in order to check for any errors as the shortcuts are being enumerated. (Specifically, run Process Monitor, set it to monitor your Taskbar folder, then kill and restart Explorer via Task Manager. Capture the results and look for errors in file system accesses.)

Even if you solve the Taskbar shortcut issue, you are certainly going to run into various problems ongoing, and some may be much less obvious than others. Renaming system folders is like moving out of your house and leaving no forwarding address. You may update all the obvious contacts with your new address (changing the registry settings), but those people who contact you every six months, or once a year end up looking for you at your old house and giving up (for example, NTFS reparse points that are now invalid).

If you want to pursue this path, I would rename back to the old user, then follow the instruction to Fix a corrupted user profile. This will give all the various modules a chance to participate in the rename/new profile.

As this was a result of following the steps in How to rename user folder in Windows 8?, I would not recommend that approach.

  • I did exactly like in the Windows 8 suggestion in your fir paragraph. So, in your last paragraph, do I have to move my folder back, then in the registry find every occurence of trusktr and change it back to the old value (somethingelse in my example) before I do the "fix a corrupted user profile" step? – trusktr Feb 28 '14 at 0:59
  • That's what I would try. I am reading through the other Superuser question and I think it's problematic, so I deleted it from the answer. At this point, I wouldn't trust the profile, which is why I would follow the "Fix a corrupted profile" advice. Finally, because this is Superuser, I also think it would be worthwhile to use Processs Monitor to poke around the potentially damaged profile just for the sake of learning. – Maxx Daymon Feb 28 '14 at 1:03
  • Hmmmm.... So that guide basically says copy everything except Ntuser.dat, Ntuser.dat.log, and Ntuser.ini. Seems like that is wherein the problem lies... – trusktr Feb 28 '14 at 1:08
  • ntuser.dat is merged into and presented as the HKEY_LOCAL_USER branch of the registry. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Windows_profile – Maxx Daymon Feb 28 '14 at 1:10
  • Aha... and looking inside NTUSER.DAT I see references to my old location... Maybe I can just replace them with the new values... – trusktr Feb 28 '14 at 1:11

Renaming your user folder is not something that I would recommend. I suspect you'll run into other problems as time goes on.

An alternative solution (for future reference and for anyone else considering this) is to create a junction which points your new folder to the original one. See the Windows mklink command or get junction.exe from SysInternals.

For example:

junction c:\Users\trusktr c:\Users\somethingelse
  • Do you suggest I edit registry and change it all back to somethingelse before doing this? – trusktr Feb 28 '14 at 0:51
  • I did exactly like in the Windows 8 suggestion in Maxx Daymon's answer. – trusktr Feb 28 '14 at 0:56

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