How to Rename a Windows 7 User Account and Related Profile Folder

How to Rename a Windows 7 User Account and Related Profile Folder


Inspired from and partially derived from the below TechNet Forum posting and from my own Experience.
Suggested by HarryEnri, on this TechNet thread: How to rename a default user directory...
I changed the order presented in the above-linked article, simplifying the entire process, using command-line for some portions, and booting to "safe mode" as the first step.

Someone in the above thread mentioned that a later boot into safe mode would help with open files/application conflicts. Instead, I choose to boot into safe mode as the first step, thus saving time and simplifying the procedure.


1. You are using Windows 7 Professional

For purposes of this article, we will assume the version is Windows 7 Professional. The only noticeable difference in the Home edition is that the Pro version of the “User Manager” is not directly available
in the Home edition so, in Home edition, you will need to go to Control Panel, click on “Users” and rename the user from there.

2. The user to be renamed (and related folder) is named “owner.”

3. The desired new (target) user/folder name for this example is “tjones”

4. The temporary admin account  to be used will be called “temp.”


1. First, reboot into safe mode.

Click Start, point to the “right-arrow” symbol next to “Shutdown,” then choose “Restart”. During restart, press the “F8” key intermittently, until you see the startup menu selection for booting into various modes. Choose the the option to “Start in Safe Mode.”

2. Log into "safe mode" as a privileged user

Log into safe mode in the same manner as when you log into "normal mode,” as a privileged user. For this example, we can assume that you log in as "owner."

3. Create a new temporary user with administrator privileges.

This account is used to perform the necessary maintenance against the computer account. This account is a temporary account and can be named along those lines. For this example, we create an account name “temp” and we use a password of "Temp@pass1."

  a. Add the "temp" user; from the command prompt, type "net user /add temp Temp@pass1" and press "Enter."
  b. Add the “temp” user to the “administrators” group
; type: "net localgroup administrators temp /add" and press Enter

4. Log out of the current user account.

5. Log into "safe mode" as the new temporary admin user ("temp").

6. Rename the existing user account ("owner") to the new name.

   a. From
the command prompt, type: "netplwiz" and press "Enter." This will take you to the User Accounts control applet.

b. Choose the ‘Advanced’ tab, and then click “Advanced” under the “Advanced User Management” section:

c. Give the existing account the desired new name.

Highlight “Users” in the left pane, then highlight the account to be changed (“owner,” in this case), then right-click and choose “Rename.” Give the account the desired new name, “tjones” in this example

If desired, right-click the new “tjones” account, choose “Properties” and change the “Full Name” section to your desired name, to match your needs.

7. Rename the existing (original) user folder to the desired new folder name.

   a. Login as the new administrator account that you created earlier ("temp," in this case).
b. Browse to the “c:\users” folder.
c. Rename the folder to the new name

       Right-click the folder to be renamed (“owner” in this case), choose rename and enter the new name (“tjones” in this example)

8. Change the "ProfileImagePath" registry key to match the newly-renamed user.

From command prompt, type “regedit” and press Enter. Next, navigate to the following registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
Find the Profile SID associated with the user you wish to change (“owner,” in this case) by doing a "Find" within the registry editor; or simply browse through the keys within the "ProfileList" key, until you find the one with "ProfileImagePath" of "c:\Users\owner" (in this case). Once found, double-click that ProfileImagePath key and change it to "c:\Users\tjones” (in this case), and click "Ok".

9. Remove the temporary administrator user account ("temp," in this case).

   a. Reboot into "normal mode (let the computer reboot, without choosing any options)
   b. Login with your newly-renamed user ("tjones.")
   c. Go to the command prompt, and then type: "net user temp /delete" and press "Enter."
       The above step (deleting the "temp" admin user) is the final step.

See Also

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  • Thanks Maheshkumar, Naomi and any others for help in editing, updating tags and so forth. Naomi, I overwrote yours, because you and I were editing at the same time, but it showed that you only updated tags, so I tried to re-create the "tag changes" you had made.

    Note also: I tried to format it so that anyone could "cut the Steps from the TOC" and use those vs. reading the entire article. For the less technical, they may need/want to read the entire article; for the "tech savvy," they may want to just cut out those "TOC Steps" and proceed.

  • Actually, I also made changes in See Also section. See Also is normally separated by horizontal lines (before and after) and the link in See Also should be a ul link. These are the changes I made. I let you repeat them

  • Thanks Naomi. It's nice to have a helping hand now and again. I am trying to meet all of the recommended guidelines and learn 'Formatting Best Practices' as well, so that my Wikis are pleasing to look at/read, easy to follow, and informative.

  • Great. I made one more quick formatting pass. I think the first paragraph (Background / Inspiration) is using some strange font, you may want to adjust that as well. The formatting guidelines suggest to use default fonts and as plain HTML as possible. I think in your case you first wrote the article in Word and then copied to Wiki and that's why the HTML is a bit complex

  • Thanks Naomi. I think I have it corrected now. I had copied from a TechNet posting, and the formatting was messed up and/or, as you said, I may have copied some pieces from MS Word.

  • TNJMAN edited Revision 29. Comment: format

  • Thanks very much. Works like a charm. Please remember though, that there may be a lot of registry entries still containing the old profile folder name, so make sure to search the entire registry. Be aware, that search will not automatically restart from the beginning of the registry, so select the topmost node and start the registry search from there. As for cleanup: the temporary admin account will leave traces. If you want it as clean as possible, you'll need to hack the registry again after deleting the temporary user account and profile folder.

  • Thanks for creating this article! I appreciate the level of detail. I tried renaming the user account via 'Advanced', under Advanced user management, and couldn't get any result. However, I was able to do it by selecting the user account, and accessing its 'Properties', on the Users tab.

    I have one question, can I delete the registry key for the temp user account? Should I expect any conflict?

  • Thanks!  This was a concise set of directions.  I followed them successfully with only a minor change.

    *****(NOTE:  Be sure and backup the entire registry before undertaking any registry edits.  Editing the Windows Registry incorrectly can render your computer unusable.)*****

    Rather than set up a temporary account, I enabled the built-in administrator account using:

        Open a command prompt as administrator (start>all programs>accessories>(right click)command prompt>run as         administrator.

        Type "net users administrator /active:yes"  (without the quotation marks).

        You should see a message that the command completed successfully

        Restart into Safe Mode, log in to the administrator account and then proceed with your instructions starting with Step 6.

        When finished, if you wish to disable the administrator account, the command is:

             "net users administrator /active:no"

             You should see a message that the command completed successfully

    Then, follow Gwahir's suggestion to search and replace the registry values for instances of the old user name (there are a few places where it won't allow you to change the value, but it didn't seem to affect the outcome.  All the programs launch, I can access network and Samba shares and far, so good...


  • Does this apply to user profiles on a domain attached computer? The answer should be listed at the top under "Assumptions".

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