How-To

How to Change Your Account Name in Windows 10

Renaming your Windows 10 account seems like a simple task, but there’s more to it than you’d think.

When you set up a new Windows 10 PC, the part where you choose your username may catch you off guard. If that’s the case, you may choose the first thing that pops into your head or something random and temporary that you intend to change later. But surprisingly enough, changing your account name in Windows 10 isn’t exactly a straightforward process. It can be done, but there are a few important things to consider as you go about it. Read on for the details.

Change Account Name and Rename User Account Folder in Windows 10

Your username is part of your identity used to sign into Windows 10. Mistakes can sometimes happen when creating a username. There are several ways you can fix that.

Currently, the Settings app doesn’t offer an option to edit usernames. There are two ways to work around this limitation.

Method 1: Classic Control Panel

Find and open the classic Control Panel. One way to do this is to press Windows + R and then type Control then hit Enter.

Open the User Accounts control panel, then click Manage another account.

Click the account you want to edit.

Click Change the account name.

Enter the correct username for the account then click Change Name.

Method 2: User Accounts Advanced Control Panel

There is another way you can do it. Press Windows key + R, type: netplwiz or control userpasswords2 then hit Enter. Select the account then click Properties.

Select the General tab then enter the user name you want to use. Click Apply then OK, then click Apply then OK again to confirm the change.

What about Your User Folder Name?

Changing the username is pretty basic, but this change is not reflected in the User folder located within the C: drive. Renaming it can be risky—sometimes sticking with it or just creating a new user account then copying your files to the new account is a better option. Yes, it’s annoying, but its better than ending up with a corrupt user profile.

If you must change it to hush your OCD, there is an advanced option available. This involves using the command line to access the security identifier (SID) then making the necessary change in the Registry. Before you go any further, enable then log into the built-in Administrator account. As a precaution, create a system restore point in advance.

To access all the information within the SID requires using the Windows Management Instrumentation Command line to reveal the value needed to find and change it in the Registry. Open the command prompt with Administrator privileges, type: wmic user account list full then hit Enter. Scroll down then take note of the SID values for the account you want to change.

Type: cls to clear the screen. The next step is to rename the account. Doing this from the command line is just as easy.

Type CD c:\users then hit Enter.
Type: rename OldAccountName NewAccountName

For example, rename “Angry Dah Cosof” “Angela Brown”

Open Start, type: regedit

Right-click Regedit.

Click Run as administrator.

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

Remember that SID value we accessed earlier? Now is the time to reference it.

Once you find it, select it, then double-click the value ProfileImagePath. You will see the old name we had earlier is still there. Change it to the new name you want to use.

There you have it, the name you actually intended. Mistakes like this can happen, but there is always a way to fix it. Let us know what you think in the comments.


4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Lynn  

    When I set up my laptop…it asked for my outlook account email address. Then it took the first 5 characters of that and now that’s my user name lynn_. Very aggravating. And I can’t change the name…Change the Name doesn’t appear – probably because there is only one user. But now I’m afraid to make any changes… So I’m stuck with lynn_ :{

  2. Donna  

    Lynn — I feel your pain. When I set up my laptop, when asked for my email address, I filled in the one I used. But since then, I’ve moved to a different email server. I’ve tried to change this, but I haven’t yet found a way to do it. The old address continues to show up from time to time, and yes, it’s annoying. Why don’t they make it easier to fix things like this?

    • Changing your account name is a sticky operation in Windows…. if you also want to change the PATH in c:\users\ACCOUNT

      You might try something like converting your account back to a LOCAL account – then converting it back to a Microsoft account with your email address.

      Use the SEARCH feature here o groovyPost for help with doing this. For example, here’s one that will help. https://www.groovypost.com/howto/create-local-account-windows-10/

  3. Barb  

    Thanks!! My OCD over this was driving me crazy :-) I had to create a temporary account and make sure I was completely logged out of the account that I wanted to change before I could rename the user directory but once I did that it all worked. Of course now my OCD is requiring that I delete every trace of the temporary account!

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