Rename Windows Home Folder

This deceptively easy task is not that straight forward as you might think but can be achieved in the following steps. The examples given change the user’s home folder from Michael to John.

As insurance against catastrophic failure make an image backup or at least create a restore point to backup the registry or both.

Method 1

The recommended approach. It is a bit sledge-hammer but is reliable and allows the user’s home folder to be cleaned up at the same time.

  1. Create a new account called John using Control Panel or Windows 10 PC Settings > Family & other users > Add someone else to the PC
  2. In Control Panel > User Accounts > Manage another account > Change the account type and change to Administrator
  3. Sign out and login as John – this will take a while as the home folder is also created.
  4. Launch 2 copies of Windows Explorer and using Task View right-click one copy and select snap left. The click the other to snap right  . This way you quickly end up with the 2 File Explorer windows side by side.
  5. In the left File Explorer window navigate to John’s home folder
  6. In the right File Explorer window navigate to Michael’s home folder and click continue to allow access to this folder
  7. Now one by one select the sub-folders, e.g. Documents in the left and right windows and drag & drop (move) the contents from right (Michael) to left (John’s sub-folder)
  8. Omit the following folders: Searches; Saved games; Links  as it is best to let these be populated themselves through use
  9. In File Explorer show Hidden folders to reveal the AppData folders.
  10. From Michael’s AppData move any required subfolders to John’s AppData subfolder, e.g. AppData > Local > Microsoft > Outlook local mail data
  11. In File Explorer Hide hidden folders again
  12. Once all the data has been moved delete the old account in Control Panel  > User Accounts > Manage another account > Michael > Delete the account > Delete Files to also delete the old account home folder

Method 2

  1. Login with an administrator account
  2. From Command Prompt (Admin) run “net administrator /Active:yes” to activate the Administrator account
  3. Sign out
  4. Login as Administrator and make the following changes:
    1. Change the account name by launching Control Panel > user Accounts > Manage Accounts > Michael > Change Account name and enter John as the new account name and click Change Name
    2. Run Regedit to change the Profile Directory name
      1. Navigate to HLKM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\
      2. Rename the S1-xxxxxxx key containing the ProfileDirectory data user path called Michael to John
    3. Using Windows Exporer rename the home C:\Users\Michael to John
    4. Download Advanced Regedit from
    5. Run Regedit33.exe and use Edit > Search and Replace menu option to replace all occurrences of Michael to John
    6. Use the Edit > Find option to ensure there are no more occurrences of Michael
    7. Signout
  5. Login with the administrator account in step 1.
  6. From Command Prompt (Admin) run “net admistrator /Active:no” to deactivate the Administrator account
  7. Optionally to clean up remove the Administrator profile home folder as follows:
    1. Select System > Advanced System Settings > User Profiles > Settings > [ComputerName]\Administrator note: [ComputerName] is your PC name
    2. Click Delete and Yes to confirm

Note: step 4 > 2 can be omitted as it is covered in step 4 >5 and is just shown to highlight the minimum registry change. However with renaming all the registry entries you may have problems with OneDrive and or other applications in the future.

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