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After installing Windows 10 on my Surface Pro 3 it took my user name 'Jeremy' and created a user folder named C:\Users\jerem.

I want to rename the folder C:\Users\Jeremy. The procedure for Windows 8 does not work. There are a couple of reasons.

  1. OneDrive is now a fully integrated part of the OS, and it completely breaks. A find/replace in the registry seems to work, but it's hard to be confident in that approach.
  2. When the computer is rebooted, the TabletInputService writes a TextHarvester.dat file to the old user profile location (creating it if needed). This makes it impossible to keep the folder deleted. An old solution found online doesn't work. This issue also causes an error message to pop up every time the computer boots.
  • 7
    @MehmetFide it's not a bug - it take the first five letters from your email address - this is by design, not an error. – CalvT Sep 25 '15 at 15:12
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    so it is a design bug. my name is "mehmet" and it puts as "mehme" which is annoying and silly. it is clearly a bug from customer point of view. – Mehmet Fide Sep 25 '15 at 16:43
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    @CalvT do you have a source stating this was a design decision? And why? Seems silly to me. – Keegan Oct 13 '15 at 13:53
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    Got a Surface Book, I'm here because I noticed the same issue. What a freaking annoyance, trimming two letters off the user name I've used for two decades. – mlepage Jan 21 '17 at 2:27
  • 7
    It should at least ask before doing this, and offer the user to change it. – mlepage Jan 21 '17 at 15:43

10 Answers 10

168

This can be done without folder renaming and messing with registry:

  1. Create a local account with the user name you wish.

    • Local account creation is well hidden; here is how to find it:
      Settings > Accounts > Family & Other users > Other users > Add someone else to this PC > The person I want to add doesn't have an email address > Add a user without Microsoft account
  2. Change account type to administrator (can skip if there is other administrator).

  3. Remove original Microsoft linked account
  4. Link local account to Microsoft account if you wish
  • Unfortunately this did not work out how I thought it would. Following these steps and then relinking my Microsoft Account created yet another User directory with my machine name appended to the end of it. – Andrew T Finnell Nov 2 '15 at 22:15
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    One caveat, if you use "Family safety" set up in your microsoft account, this can get very tricky at (4) if you want to do it for other family members. The other family members become "known" to the PC as soon as you convert the first account, and I hit a full-stop when converting the other local users . I had to disable that feature first, then add all family members as local accounts, then convert them to M$ accounts. – Ed Randall Nov 21 '15 at 7:56
  • 2
    Someone did an edit that seems more useful as a comment: IMPORTANT Be aware many application settings, video game saves, and so on are stored in the original user folder. (Rarely, some settings may even be tied to the old username). Your pictures, documents, music, and so on will still be in the old user directory. – Journeyman Geek Dec 28 '18 at 6:13
  • How do you do step 4? – Daniel Kaplan May 21 at 3:46
  • @DanielKaplan not exactly sure since haven't tried in a while and something may have changed, but probably something along the lines of this windowscentral.com/… – voldemarz May 22 at 13:19
43

I had the same problem and I have solved it as follows (using information that I found on a few other websites):

  1. Just to be safe, create a restore point. Open the Control Center, type in System Restore and click on Create System Restore Point. Select the C: Drive and click on Create.
  2. Click on the Windows Button (at the bottom left), type regedit and click on Execute command.
  3. Confirm the UAC dialog by clicking Yes.
  4. Make a backup of the prior registry by clicking File > Export.
  5. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/ProfileList. There you can find a few subfolders (starting with 'S-1-5-'). Search for the folder that contains the path (that you want to change) in the registry key named ProfileImagePath. (Example from the question: search for the value 'C:\Users\jerem').
  6. If you have found it, double-click on it and change the path. (Following the original question, you would now change the value to 'C:\Users\Jeremy').
  7. Close the Registry Editor window.
  8. Click on the Windows Button (at the bottom left) again and type netplwiz and click on Execute command.
  9. Make sure that the checkbox 'Users have to enter username and password' is checked. Select the user (for whom you want to change the path) from the list and click on Properties.
  10. Change the user name in the new window. (Following the original question, you would now change the user name to 'Jeremy'). You can also change the full name here, if you wish (but in my case the correct name has already been entered). I suppose that you can not leave the full name field empty. Close the window by clicking OK.
  11. Close the other remaining opened windows also by clicking OK.
  12. Restart the system.
  13. Start Windows 10 again and try to login. This will fail (because of the changed path) and you will automatically be logged in with a temporary user account (which will take a bit of time). However, you can now change the name of the folder using the Windows Explorer (following the example above, you would now rename the folder jerem to Jeremy).
    Note: alternatively, you can boot into a second operating system (if you have one installed) or use a Live CD operating system to change the folder name.

UPDATE: Thanks to user @lmiguelvargasf for informing me about an issue with my solution! I thought that the system would be a bit more intelligent in updating the references in the registry, but it is not! Therefore you should start the Registry Editor again (as in step 2) and make a backup by clicking File > Export. Then click on Edit > Search (or Find...), type in the old path (in the example it would have been C:\Users\jerem) and search for keys, values and data. Replace all references containing the old path (C:\Users\jerem) with the new path (C:\Users\Jeremy). A click on the key F3 searches for the next reference. Repeat that until you don't find any references to the old path. Even with a relatively fresh installation on Windows 10, you might have to update about 100 entries (especially OneDrive and Edge have quite a lot of caching paths in the registry). And also some additionally installed programs might have created registry entries!

Finally, restart the system again and start Windows 10. The first login could take quite a while, but everything should now work fine again and the path of the user directory should now be changed! If everything works fine, you can now delete the original folder (the folder named jerem, using the example of the question).

INFO: I am working on a German system. I tried to translate the bullet points correctly, but it is very likely that they might be named a bit different!

DISCLAIMER: This solution is working on my laptop after upgrading from Windows 8.1 (64-bit) to Windows 10 (64-bit). However, I cannot guarantee that this solution might also work for others with other configurations. If you follow the solution provided above, you are doing everything at your own risk!

  • 1
    This worked for me on Windows 10 64-bit! After doing the 11 steps, to get to the temporary account, I had to put in my password, then my PIN, and keep pressing "skip" after Windows reported that there were some errors until it finally logged me in. After renaming the folder I restarted Windows and everything worked perfectly – Jorge Luque Aug 2 '15 at 8:41
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    This will work, but it will break several things, including the ability to install apps from the Windows Store. After checking the Event Viewer I noticed a number of errors related to the ESENT service, which were still referencing the old user account folder. The easiest way I found to solve the problem was by creating a symbolic link from the "wrong/original" user profile folder ("xavie" in my case) to the "new/correct" one ("xavier"). For this I used the awesome Link Shell Extension. – xfx Aug 7 '15 at 5:30
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    @traintes: I just looked for oldusername and in the search I included old keys, values and data that contained the word. – lmiguelvargasf Aug 17 '15 at 3:35
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    Be careful during the registry search and replace. You don't want to accidentally double replace "c:\jerem" with "c:\Jeremy" or you could end up with a "c:\Jeremyy" somewhere. In fact, you might want to search for that afterward just to be sure. Also, there may be some other programs which store the paths elsewhere, such as an .INI file, .XML file or a database. Expect something to break and be prepared to hunt it down. – GuitarPicker Aug 17 '15 at 15:46
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    To keep the system in a continuously sane state, I'd recommend (as @xfx did) that you create a symlink from the new name to the old one before making changes. Right-click the Start menu and open Command Prompt (Admin). Then cd C:\Users and mklink /D newname oldname. Once you've rebooted and ensured that nothing refers to the old name, you can delete the symlink and rename the directory. – Trevor Robinson May 15 '16 at 20:39
40

While not a direct answer to the question, a symbolic link can be a risk-free solution if the problem is not just aesthetics, but that restored or legacy configuration files or links refer to the user directory.

  1. Open an elevated command prompt
  2. Change to the user directory
  3. Create a directory junction targeting the real name of the user directory

e.g.,

C:
CD\Users
MKLINK /J Jeremy jerem

This enables you to use c:\Users\Jeremy\..... to refer to parts of your profile.

  • 3
    nice simple solution, can be enough for some issues. – stefano Aug 27 '16 at 8:23
  • What exactly do you mean by "Change to the user directory"? Do you mean inside "users" or inside "<username>" or outside both? – Xonatron Jun 11 '17 at 16:48
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    This worked. Thanks so much for this suggestion. I opened CMD with admin privileges, navigated to c:\users\, and ran "mklink /j matt matthew" (for example) to link "matt" to the already existing "matthew" folder. – Xonatron Jun 11 '17 at 16:52
  • A great way to not have to change git source paths when working from work and home via cloud. – quantomworks Jul 25 '17 at 15:52
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    In my case it helped me surpass some errors a program had because my user folder has an space in it. So I ran mklink /j greatUser "My Full Name" and it works. Thanks! – Metafaniel Aug 10 '18 at 17:26
26

Microsoft has actually documented a very simple and clean way to rename a user profile folder.

There is no need to create a new user account, so all the settings associated with the existing user profile are preserved. And the only registry change required is to edit a single string value (the one that tells Windows the path of the user profile folder):

  1. Log in by using another administrative account.

Note You may need to create a new Administrative account at first.

  1. Go to the C:\users\ folder and rename the subfolder with the original user name to the new user name.
  2. Go to the registry and modify the registry value ProfileImagePath to the new path name.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\<User SID>\

That's it!

A note on <User SID>: the ProfileList registry key contains a number of sub-keys. To find out which one to change, click on each sub-key and examine the values, to find the sub-key with the right ProfileImagePath:

enter image description here

For example, let's say we want to get rid of the space in a user profile folder name. So in step 2, we use File Explorer to navigate to C:\Users and rename the John Smith subfolder JohnSmith. And in step 3, we click on the <User SID> sub-keys until we find the one with ProfileImagePath C:\Users\John Smith, and change it to C:\Users\JohnSmith.

This procedure was provided by Microsoft in relation to a perceived issue with Windows 7, but the same procedure continues to work in Windows 10.

Renaming a User Account Does Not Automatically Change the Profile Path

  • This solution totally work. Thanks alot. But if you use linux on windows, you need reinstall linux that run on top of windows. – Pamungkas Jayuda Jan 16 at 8:50
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    This should be the accepted answer. On Windows 10 1809 you have to do another step with OneDrive. When you log in you'll be told ...Desktop cannot be found, moved or deleted. You'll have to re-sign into OneDrive and let it sync with the new folder change. I also went into OneDrive Settings -> Auto Save and tapped "Update Folders" just to make sure Desktop was being properly picked up. After a short few minutes it seems that everything fell back into place. – Daniel Jackson Feb 15 at 19:12
  • This simple procedure works well. Many software cannot be uninstalled afterward though. To correct this, you have to change all occurences of the former username in the registry. Luckily regedit has a search feature, unfortunately it has no replace feature so it can take a while to do it manually. – Futal Mar 14 at 11:20
  • It worked, but this local user's system search under Windows 10 1903 was broken and did not yield any results from within system settings anymore. – Michi May 29 at 20:21
  • To avoid a ton of manual registry changes, "Unlink this PC" In OneDrive before doing this change-over. Then set up OneDrive again. – Ian W Aug 26 at 13:28
18
  1. To access the Advanced User Accounts panel type netplwiz in Search the web and Windows box next to your Windows button then click or tap on Netplwiz (Windows application).

  2. In the Advanced User Accounts panel, select the user you want to modify and click Properties

  3. In the properties window for the user, enter the new user name and click OK.

  4. Restart for the changes to take effect.

Source: http://www.opentechguides.com/how-to/article/windows-10/43/win10-change-account.html

  • 8
    The question is about changing the profile folder name, not the user name. Does your solution work for that? I doubt it... – zagrimsan Dec 9 '15 at 13:26
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    I was searching for ´netplwiz´, because I want only rename my username. – dhcgn Feb 25 '16 at 17:06
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    Your link is updated and now includes how to change the Folder name too. And this other link includes 2 methods (onr for Local Account and other for Microsot Account) to change the UserName and then change the Folder name: answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/forum/… – Troglo May 13 '16 at 20:42
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    This actually helped as much as the accepted answer: for some reason, Windows wouldn't let me create a local account with the name I wanted (probably because I already tried switching from my ms account to a local account so the name was still registered somewhere), but using netplwiz and the advanced user account mmc, I managed to do that with far more ease than by using the "normal" local account creation! – Melvyn Jul 24 '16 at 12:40
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    This should be the accepted answer. I tried this method while logged in with a Microsoft Account for which I wanted to change the user folder name. After changing the account name in netplwiz AND rebooting the computer, surprise, the folder also got renamed. Tried and tested in WIN10 v1809 – Ivan Feb 24 at 12:27
2

I think the best way to go about this is to first create a "Local Account" then after login to your "Microsoft Account" It should link your folder with you online account now.

  • 4
    That doesn't really answer the question though as the OP had already logged in to Microsoft so it's too late to do what you suggest. The answer doesn't tell him how to fix his problem. – DavidPostill Jul 20 '15 at 9:25
0

I managed to get that Windows 8 tutorial to work for myself by logging into the second admin account in safe mode (I used "Safe Mode With Networking" myself; the precise methods used to get your version of Windows 10 into Safe Mode may be different). Safe Mode prevents OneDrive from loading, among other things.

After renaming the directory, you'll need to search and replace "C:\Users\jerem" to "C:\Users\Jeremy" (in my case, it was "C:\Users\Kimiko" to "C:\Users\Muffin") in Regedit while you're logged into the secondary account, and then you'll need to do it again once you've logged back into your main account so you can get everything in HKEY_CURRENT_USER as well. This won't catch everything in files, obviously; when I rebooted after doing the second search and replace, OneDrive complained that its home directory had been deleted, among other things. Everything seemed to work after that, though.

  • You haven't run into the TextHarvester.dat issue? – GollyJer Jun 9 '15 at 1:20
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    I have not, but it occurred to me when I was checking just now that this might because I'm using it on a desktop machine and have never had a touchscreen attached. In which case I would guess you could go back into Safe Mode after following my instructions, and then do the DelProf2.exe /u thing. – Dizzy H. Muffin Jun 9 '15 at 15:17
0

I can't comment yet... I just wanted to add that I followed the steps from traintes' solution, but if you want to avoid getting the error when restarting the pc, you can follow these steps before restarting:

  1. activate the Administrator account from command prompt (with admin rights) right clicking on the windows logo and selecting the option and typing net users Administrator /active:yes
  2. reboot the computer in Advanced Startup clicking on Start > Power > (shift +) restart
  3. Go to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt
  4. Select the Administrator account
  5. Navigate to C:\Users typing c: then cd users
  6. Type rename oldname newname using your current folder name instead of oldname and the desired folder name instead of newname

exit and reboot... easy peasy...

  • 2
    You are restarting the computer as often as in my guide (twice). However, following your steps, you are saving a bit of time as you don't have to be logged in with a temporary profile (which takes a bit of time to create)... – traintes Aug 27 '15 at 15:48
  • Have you tested these instructions? At least in prior versions of Windows, because HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\<User SID>\ProfileImagePath will still be pointing to c:\users\oldname, Windows will just assume the folder has been deleted and recreate it when you next login. You should also find that because you are logged in as oldname, ntuser.dat will be open and prevent the renaming of the directory. Finally, you should also advise people disable the administrator account as the final step; There is a reason it is disabled by default! – user66001 Apr 18 at 14:09
0

There is a much faster and easier way. (As usual, Windows NT got it right, but Microsoft just keeps making trivial UI tasks harder and harder as they try to cater to the fringe tablet market. Luckily the old apps are still available.)

Open the Start menu, type comp and select Computer Management, expand Local Users and Groups, right-click Users to a new local account there, then click Groups and open the Administrators group and add the new account.

Log off, log in with the new account. The account name will be used to create a new folder in Users. You can copy whatever you need from the old user folder, then delete the old user account from the same app (or that "Family" thing in Settings). Re-link to your MS account if you wish.

  • 1
    Unfortunately the Computer Management > Local Users and Groups option is not available in Windows 10 Home edition, only in Professional and above. – Salvador Sep 5 '18 at 11:14
0

I had the same problem and this worked. Thanks to tenforums website!

https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/89060-change-name-user-profile-folder-windows-10-a.html

Summary:

1) in a command window: wmic useraccount get name,SID

get the SID for the user.

2) Open registry using regedit command.

search for

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\

edit local user name to new name.

3) Important: after editing the registry you must restart your computer otherwise the rename will give the same error.

4) Now you can rename the directory (folder).

  • Please quote the relevant content so your answer is complete. – Daniel B Sep 4 at 14:40
  • @DanielB it is several pages long and has screenshots etc. – likejudo Sep 4 at 15:38
  • If (more like when) the page you linked goes away, your answer is suddenly not an answer anymore. That’s of no help to anyone. If you feel like the guide is overly detailed, you can also try to shorten it. – Daniel B Sep 4 at 17:34
  • These are the same instructions as an existing user. – Ramhound Sep 4 at 22:59
  • @likejudo - I still believe this answer is suggesting the same solution that already was submitted minus looking up the SID of the user which I believe isn’t necessary. Any event you still have not quoted the relevant information as required by our rules. If you copy a source from another website it must be cited (which you have done) and quoted (which you have failed to do). – Ramhound Sep 9 at 11:28

protected by bwDraco Oct 21 '15 at 15:00

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