How to: Rename User Profile Folder in Windows 10/8/7

Last updated on February 15th, 2019

This tutorial contains instructions to rename the user profile folder in Windows OS. As you may know, when you rename a user in Windows, the name of the user's profile folder (which contains all it's files and settings), remains unchanged.

For example, if you rename an account from "Mike" to "John", the profile folder under the "C:\Users\" directory will still named "Mike" (C:\Users\Mike) and not "John" (C:\Users\John). This is happened because by Windows design, the profile folder name doesn't changed automatically when you change the username.

This tutorial contains instructions to change the name of the Profile folder Windows 10, 8/8.1 & 7 OS.

How to Change the User Profile Folder Name for a Local Account *

* Note: If you 're using Windows 10  with a Microsoft account, then the only way to change the name of the user profile folder, is to create a new local Administrator account (with the desired name) and then to connect the new account with your Microsoft account.

To Change the Name of the Profile folder:

Important: Proceed and change the current account name (if you have not already done so), before you continue below.

Step 1. Enable the Hidden Administrator Account

1. Open Command Prompt as Administrator. To do that:

a. In the Search box type: cmd (or command prompt).
b. Right click on the command prompt (result) and select Run as Administrator.

run command prompt as administrator

2. Inside the command prompt window, type the following command and press Enter:

  • net user administrator /active:yes

Enable Administrator account

3. After that you should view a message that says that your command was completed successfully.
4. Close Command prompt.

Step 2. Change the User Profile folder path in Registry.

1. Sign Out from the current account and Sign-In as Administrator.

2. Open Registry Editor. To do that:

1. Simultaneously press the Win image + R keys to open the run command box.
2. Type regedit and press Enter to open Registry Editor.

regedit

3. Inside Windows Registry, navigate (from the left pane) to this key:

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

4. Right click at the "ProfileList" key and select Export.

registry export backup

5. Type a name for the exported registry key (e.g. "ProfileList") and save the file to your desktop. *

* Note: If something goes wrong at the end of the process, just click at the exported registry file to restore the registry settings back.

backup registry

6. In registry editor, double click at "ProfileList" key to expand its contents.

7. Now, under the 'ProfileList' registry key you should see two (or more) subkeys named "S-1-5-21" followed by a long number (e.g. 'S-1-5-21-1001432958-3492499226-3494023764-1001).

8a. Click each "S-1-5-21-xxxxxxx" subkey and look at the right pane, at "ProfileImagePath" value, to find out which "S-1-5-21-xxxxxxx" subkey shows the path of the user folder that you want to rename. *

* e.g. Let's suppose that you want to change the name of the profile folder "Mike" to "John". At this case we look for this value "C:\Users\Mike" in "ProfileImagePath"

Rename User Account folder

8b. Once you find which "S-1-5-21-xxxxxxx" subkey, contains the path (location) for your profile, double click at "ProfileImagePath" value and change the current folder path (e.g. "C:\Users\Mike") to the new one (e.g. "C:\Users\John").

8c. When done, click OK.

rename profile folder

9. Close Registry Editor and restart your computer.

Step 3. Rename User Folder in Windows Explorer.

1. After restart, Sign Out from the Administrator account and sign in using the new account name (e.g. John"). *

* Attention: After sign-in, you will think that all your files & settings are lost. This is happened because you have signed into a temporary user profile (without your files & settings). Don't Panic and continue below to fix this issue.

2. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to "C:\Users" folder. *

* Note: If you 're using Windows 10, ignore (close) the "Can't sign in to your account" message.

3. Right-click at the user profile folder that you want to rename (e.g. from "Mike" to "John") and select Rename.

rename profile folder windows 10-8-7

4. Type the new name (e.g. "John") for the profile folder and press Enter. *

* Important: The new name must be the same with the name in the "ProfileImagePath" value in registry (e.g. "C:\Users\John").

change profile folder name

5. At "Folder Access Denied" window, click Continue to rename the user account folder. *

* Note: If you cannot rename the folder, make sure that you have signed in with the Administrator account or try to apply this step in Safe Mode.

change profile folder name

6. Restart your computer.

7. After restart, you should sign in to your normal profile, with all your personal files and settings in place!
8. Continue to the next step.

Step 4. Replace Registry References to the Old Folder Name.

After you rename the user folder to the desired name, you have to modify also the registry values that refers to the old name, in order to avoid search or other problems. To modify the registry paths: *

* Notes:
1.
If you cannot change a registry value, because of "An Access Denied" or similar error, then skip to modify the next registry value.
2. To make your life easier, you can use one of the following Free registry editors, that offers a "Find and Replace" function (Search and Replace).

1. Simultaneously press the Windows image + R keys to open run command box.
2. Type regedit and press Enter.

regedit

3. From the Registry menu, click Edit > Find.
4. At 'Find what' box, type the old name of the profile folder. (e.g. "Mike") and click Find Next.

image

5. Then double click at any registry entry found that contains the old name, and replace it with the new name and click OK. *

* e.g. Change "C:\Users\Mike" to "C:\Users\John".

image

6. When done, press the F3 key to find the next value(s) and make the same change.
7. Perform the same step to changes all the values that refers to the old name and when done, proceed to the last step below.

Step 5. Rebuild Search Index.

Finally, follow the below procedure to rebuild the search index:

1. Open Windows Control Panel.
2. Open Indexing Options.
3. At 'Indexing Options' click Advanced.

Rebuild Search Index

4. Click Rebuild.

Rebuild Index Search

5. Click OK at the information message.

Rebuild Index Search Cortana

6. When the Indexing is completed, you 're done!. *

* NOTE FOR WINDOWS 10 USERS: If the Store apps are not working after the folder rename, then open PowerShell as Administrator and give this command:

  • Get-AppxPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -register "$($_.InstallLocation)\appxmanifest.xml" -DisableDevelopmentMode}

 

That's it! Let me know if this guide has helped you by leaving your comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.

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