Windows is programmed to create a dedicated home (or profile) folder for every user account that ever gets created on a specific computer. The user profile folder, by default, gets its name from the account username. The home folder (for the user profile) houses all the directories specific to the account – that is, Pictures, Documents, Downloads, and so on.
Windows will not allow you to change the folder name through the standard name change process you use on regular files or items. Given the complications that could result from rapid, unauthorized, or frequent changes of a user profile name, it makes absolute sense that Windows plays its part to resist such alterations.
If you are here to find out how to rename the user profile directory on a Windows PC, then you must be ready to perform all the needed tasks. You will have to go through 4 major operations to do the job
- Create a new local administrator account
- Rename the user account
- Rename the user profile folder
- Map the renamed folder to the user account
How to rename the user profile folder in Windows 10
Before you begin performing the tasks, you might want to create a system restore point to mirror the current state or composition of your computer. This way, if anything goes wrong (no matter how unlikely it might seem to be now), you will be able to use the System Restore program to revert your computer to the old state (the way it is now).
Unfortunately, the steps on creating a system restore point or using the System Restore application are beyond the scope of our work here. You will have to check for the steps online – if you do not know how to go about the creation of a restore point.
Create a new local administrator account:
You cannot rename the user profile folder for an account when that account is logged into Windows. In other words, if you are currently logged into your computer with the account whose user profile name you intend to change, then you have to log out and get back in with a new or different profile. This rule still applies even if your user account (in use) is the administrator profile.
To bypass the stated restriction, we want you to create a new local administrator account, sign in with this profile, and then use it to do the job. Well, if you have another local account that possesses administrative privileges or rights, then you can skip the task here (and move to the next one).
Anyway, here are the steps you must go through to create a new local administrator account:
- First, you have to bring up the Settings application window. You can press (and hold) the Windows logo button on your machine’s keyboard and then give the letter I key a tap to launch the needed program.
- Assuming you are now on the Settings window, you have to click on Accounts (one of the menus or options on the main screen).
- Look to the list of items close to the left pane area of the window and then click on Family and other users.
- Now, you must look to the right pane area of the window and then click on Add someone else to this PC.
Windows is now supposed to ask you to log into your Microsoft account – if your computer has an active internet connection.
- On the Microsoft sign-in dialog or window, you have to click on the I don’t have this person’s sign-in information link.
Yes, that is the option you must go with since you want to create a local account on your computer.
- On the screen that follows, you have to click on the Add a user without Microsoft account link (close to the bottom).
- Assuming you are now on the form screen for a new account, you have to fill the boxes with the necessary credentials.
You must enter a new username and password, for one. You will also have to set up the relevant security questions.
- Once you are done inputting the appropriate credentials and making the right selections, you have to click on the Next button.
If you do everything correctly, then Windows will create a new profile that corresponds to a standard user account. The new account does not have administrative privileges – not yet, at least. You have to continue with the instructions below to upgrade the new profile to an admin account.
- Now, you have to check for the newly created account in the Settings app. It should be visible now.
- Click on the new user account to get it highlighted and then click on the Change account type button.
- On the Change account type window or dialog, you have to click on the drop-down menu (under Account type) to see the available options. Choose Administrator.
- Click on the OK button to save the changes made to the newly created user account.
The new account should now read Administrator – Local account.
Alternatively, you can enable the hidden admin account in Windows and then use it to perform the next task. You can run a command on an elevated Command Prompt window to enable the hidden admin account. This method of enabling the hidden admin account is probably the easiest and fastest of all the possible means of doing the same thing.
These are the instructions you must follow:
- Press the Windows logo button on your machine’s keyboard to access the Windows Start screen options and utilities (or click on the Windows icon on your device’s screen for the same outcome).
- Input Command Prompt into the text box (that shows up the moment you begin to type).
- Assuming Command Prompt (Desktop app) has now emerged as the main entry on the results list displayed, you have to do a right-click on it to see its context menu and then choose the Run as administrator option.
Windows is now supposed to bring up the Administrator: Command Prompt window.
- Fill the field on the elevated Command Prompt window with this code:
net user administrator /active:yes
- Hit the Enter key on your PC’s keyboard to get Windows to run the command.
If everything goes well, you will see a notification stating that the command was completed successfully.
- You must now go to the Windows Start menu screen as you did at the beginning (in the first step). There, you will be able to access the administrator account. The same administrator account will also be accessible from the login screen.
You can now proceed to the next task (2 – renaming the old user account). Come back here after you complete the work involving the administrator account.
Of course, once everything is done, you have to disable the hidden admin account (or get it back to being hidden). Well, these are the instructions you must follow to do that:
- First, you have to bring up the Administrator: Command Prompt window (the platform you worked on previously).
We provided the instructions on doing this earlier, so we decided to leave them out here. You can scroll up to see the steps again.
- Assuming you are now on the elevated Command Prompt window, you have to fill the field there with this code:
net user administrator /active:no
- Hit the Enter key on your machine’s keyboard to get Windows to run the code. That will be all. Your system will now disable the hidden admin account.
Rename the old user account:
If you want a new name for a user profile folder in Windows, then you must be prepared to give the profile that same name. In other words, the user account (or profile) and the home folder should share the same name – and this is the only thing that makes sense.
Follow these instructions to change the name of the user account (to the same name you want to use for the profile folder):
- First, you have to sign in to Windows using the new local administrator account (the one you just created).
- Assuming you have gotten to the desktop in Windows, you have to fire up the Run application by pressing (and holding) the Windows logo button on your machine’s keyboard and then giving the letter R key a tap.
- Once the small Run window gets brought up, you have to fill the text box on it with this code:
- Click on the OK button on the Run window to get Windows to run the code (or hit the Enter key on your machine’s keyboard for the same outcome).
Windows is supposed to bring up the Lusmgr [Local Users and Groups] window now. You have to continue your work using this tool.
- Look to the top-left corner of the window and then click on Users (under Local Users and Groups).
- With Users highlighted, you must look to the section on the right pane and check for your user account.
- Once you find your user account, you have to right-click on it to see the context menu available and then choose the Rename option.
- At this point, you have to fill the field with the new name you want to give the account.
- Save the changes you made to the user profile by clicking on the appropriate button. Finally, you must close the tool window.
Rename the Windows Home folder:
The task here constitutes the operation that forces the change in name for the folder belonging to the user account (or profile) in view. The previous procedures simply cleared the path for the job that must be done here. Had you not created a new local administrator account and renamed the old user account, it would be counterproductive to attempt the operation here.
- First, you have to launch the File Explorer application by pressing (and holding) the Windows logo button on your machine’s keyboard and then giving the letter E key a tap.
Alternatively, you can click on the File Explorer icon on your taskbar to launch the needed program.
- Assuming the File Explorer window has been brought up on your device’s screen, you have to click on This PC or My Computer.
- Locate your Local Disk (C:), click on it to get it highlighted, right-click on it to see the context menu available, and then choose the Rename option.
- Now, you must input the required name. It should be the new name you used in the previous procedure.
Windows will not prevent you from making the change this time.
Map the renamed folder:
The task here constitutes the final procedure in the renaming operation for a folder associated with a user profile in the Windows operating system environment. You have to alter certain things in the registry to account for the changes you made already earlier.
Go through these steps:
- First, you have to open the Registry Editor application in Windows.
- Use the Windows logo button + letter R keyboard shortcut to launch the Run app. Once the Run window appears, you have to fill the text box on it with this code:
- Click on the OK button on the Run window to get your system to run the code (or give the Enter key on your keyboard a tap for the same outcome).
- You have to click on the Yes button on the User Account Control prompt – if Windows brings up a dialog or box to get some form of confirmation for the program launch operation.
- Assuming the Registry Editor window is now up on your screen, you have to look to the top-left corner and then double-click on Computer to see its contents.
- Now, you must navigate through the folders on this path to get to your destination:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ ProfileList
- At this point, you have to check for the SID string that corresponds to the user profile in view.
Windows stores a unique SID string for every user account on your computer, so you will have to go through the items available to figure out the one for your user account.
- You must click on each SID string folder and then examine the ProfileImagePath value (displayed on the panel to the right of the window).
- Check and confirm that the path for the value corresponds to the profile folder (for the account in view).
You might have to go through several strings to confirm things, especially if you have numerous user accounts on your computer.
- At this point, assuming you have identified the appropriate target folder, you have to double-click on the ProfileImagePath value.
The Edit String value window for the chosen item will be brought up now.
- You have to fill the box with the new profile folder name (make the appropriate changes).
- Click on the OK button to save the changes you made.
- Once you are done with your work on the Registry Editor application, you have to close the program window and then restart your PC.
- After the recommended reboot, you must use the user account in view to log into Windows and then check and confirm that everything is in order.
We believe you now know how to rename Windows user profile folders. You probably had your reasons for wanting to do this, but we can only hope that they were worth the effort and time you spent on the job.
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