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How to Change Your Home Folder Name

How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Posted July 21, 2009 at 1:50am by iClarified
These are instructions on how to change your Mac OS X Home folder name or Mac OS X user short name.

Each user in Mac OS X has a full "Name" and a "Short Name" as defined in the Users pane of System Preferences. The short name can contain up to 255 lowercase characters with no spaces (or up to 8 character in Mac OS X 10.1.5 or earlier). This is the name used to create a user's home directory (also known as the user's Home or Home folder) in the Users folder.

If you try to change your Short Name in the Accounts (or Users) pane of System Preferences, it may be dimmed and you cannot change it. You must follow the instructions below to change it.


Step One
Launch Directory Utility from the Applications:Utilities folder.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Two
Click the Lock icon at the bottom left of the Directory Utility window
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Three
When prompted enter your administrator name and password then click the OK button.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Four
Click to select Enable Root User from the Edit menu.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Five
Directory Utility will ask you to input a password for the root user. Enter the new password then click the OK button.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Six
Select Log Out ... from the Apple menu at the top left of your screen.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Seven
Log back in as root with the password you just created.

Step Eight
Open a new Finder window from the dock.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Nine
Select your Mac OS X drive from the list of device on the left of the Finder window.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Ten
Open the Users folder.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Eleven
In the users directory you will see a folder with the same name as the Home folder you would like to change. Select the folder then press Enter to change the name. Rename it to your desired Home folder name.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Twelve
Select System Preferences from the Apple menu at the top left of the screen.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Thirteen
Click to select Accounts from the System Preferences window.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Fourteen
Click the + button at the bottom left of the screen to create a new user account.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Fifteen
Enter the information you would like for your user account making sure the Short Name is the same as your desired new Home folder name. Click the Create Account button to continue.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Sixteen
A popup will appear informing you that a folder in the Users folder already has the name you inputed. Click the OK button to continue.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Seventeen
Select Log Out... from the Apple menu at the top left of the screen.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Eighteen
You can now log in as the new user you just created.

Step Nineteen
Select System Preferences... from the Apple menu.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Twenty
Select Accounts from the System Preferences window.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Twenty One
Click the Lock icon at the bottom left of the screen.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Twenty Two
When prompted enter your administrative name and password then click the OK button.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Twenty Three
Select your old user account then click the - button to remove it.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Twenty Four
When prompted to confirm if you want to delete the old user account click the OK button.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Twenty Five
Launch Directory Utility from the Applications:Utilities folder.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name

How to Change Your Home Folder Name

Step Twenty Six
Select Disable Root User from the Edit menu.
How to Change Your Home Folder Name


You now have successfully changed your Mac OS X home folder name!
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Comments (26)
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anon
anon - July 10, 2013 at 2:28am
I have a major problem and I would like help solving it. I followed steps 1 - 20, then I decided to just log off and log on with my original user...none of my files are there, none of my photos, it seems to be my old account because it has the same picture (as the original did). This is ridiculous. I need help trying to restore all my files and pictures and everything else. Please reply at your earliest convenience. Please.
walnut
walnut - February 20, 2013 at 10:54pm
thank you! i've managed it! very helpful! the only thing you forgot to mention is to stick the "allow user to administer this computer" point on the new created account.
Suhailyosuf
Suhailyosuf - January 28, 2013 at 5:05pm
Goooooos
shir
shir - January 12, 2013 at 7:31pm
omg you totally ruined my users. it's all messed up right now :(((((( it didn't change my home folder name and just erased everything that was on my mac. I don't know what to do :\
Patrick
Patrick - January 25, 2012 at 8:17am
First off, I am running Lion OS on a early 2011 MBP. I bought the MBP off someone who after a few weeks of purchasing it needed the money which I saved about $400 off retail. Now, in my finder next to the house icon there is his name. It's been driving me nuts! Also, on my dock on the app store icon there is a notification for him to update his twitter account. This is also driving me nuts! I have set myself as the admin but I am not able to set myself as the real owner of the computer. I do not want him having any association to this computer whats so ever! It is mine and I don't want to see his name all over it or from time to time. Will these steps correct this issue for me? I am running Lion as I said and in step eleven I get a sharing folder and the house icon with his name which I am not able to rename. Also, how do I log in as a root user? I've enabled the root user and provided a password then logged out but when I click other to login, it asks me for a username and password. What would my password be? Anyway, I'm not even sure I'm in the right place but any help would be greatly appreciated. I know a little about computers but not a whole lot and this is my first Mac! Thanks peeps I hope to get a response soon.
Si
Si - September 5, 2011 at 6:43am
A few things you might want to add to your instructions. First and perhaps most important is that the root user account doesn't go away after it's disabled at the end of the procedure so if you ever need to use it again in the future you're going to need to know whatever password you used. It's not a password you only need to know for ten minutes - that password needs to be unforgettable or recorded somewhere safe. Secondly, perhaps in theory everything should work as before in practice that might not necessarily be so. I found OS X basically worked fine but a few things were having an electronic sulk and causing the Choose Application window to appear on start up. Repairing disk permissions (and there were a lot to repair) got rid of that and fixed the odd behaviour of everything apart from Parallels 6. Might be worth adding that at least verifying permissions is a good idea. Third, Parallels users may find, as I did, that the app thinks the virtual machine has gone even though it's still there in Documents > Parallels. I had to open it twice, once via File > Open in Parallels and browsing to it and once by opening the VM itself in Finder (I'd guess it'd be the same if you've got an alias for the VM somewhere, but I didn't bother keeping it). Both times you'll be asked for an admin user name and password and after that you should find it opens normally again. Last thing to note is more of a warning than anything else. After you've changed the home folder's name the next Time Machine backup is likely to be massive. However big the home folder is that's how much Time Machine is going to think has changed, and if even if your backups are done over fast connection it's going to take a bit of time. If it's USB 2 and your home folder's a couple of hundred gigs then it'll be hours.
Xadrian
Xadrian - September 14, 2011 at 1:16am
Back in school, I'm doing so much laerinng.
Lynda
Lynda - September 15, 2011 at 1:54am
It's much esaeir to understand when you put it that way!
A
A - September 2, 2011 at 5:31am
I have an iMAC OS X 10.6.8, I would love to be able to change my Home directory name, but I don't seem to have the "Applications:Utilities:Directory Utility". Is there a reason the "Directory Utility" is not available in the "Utilities" folder?
Si
Si - September 5, 2011 at 6:07am
I had the same thing but it turns out there's another way to open the Directory Utility to enable/disable the root user via System Preferences > Accounts. Instructions are at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1528. For 10.6.x it's ten steps but the last few are basically the same as iClarified's instructions from about Step Three.
sophia
sophia - July 25, 2011 at 12:39am
thanks so much!! it's a hassle, but the only good way. the one apple gave lost of a lot of settings and isn't effective.
Destry
Destry - September 13, 2011 at 7:14am
Super inforamtvie writing; keep it up.
Kameryn
Kameryn - September 15, 2011 at 1:43am
You're the grteaest! JMHO
cc
cc - November 27, 2010 at 8:41pm
thanks this was way better than the guidelines on apple.com much appreciated, this was bugging me for ages, apple.com mention nothing about logging out then back in as root user, be careful though people if u dont follow right you can mess things up, make sure you are very well computer literate before attempting
William
William - November 10, 2010 at 11:46pm
O.K. ... somehow the new administrator account didn't take the first time. I established a new administrator after reboot (make sure the name is the same, case sensitive) and was able to access. Gosh what a rig-a-ma-roll just to change an icon name. Thanks though! Cheers.
William
William - November 10, 2010 at 11:04pm
Very good detailed instructions but as soon as I relabeled the user file, it automatically created another file with the old name/title. Reboot... and the name remains the same on the home icon. I went through it step by step. I lost my user preferences as well, and a few icons in the dock but thankfully no files. Thanks for your time, but this is re-donk-ulus! If I am the administrator, with password then the home file (short name) should change automatically. Bad on Apple. (Using OS 10.6.4 with macbook pro.)
i hate you
i hate you - August 9, 2010 at 10:18pm
you lost me all my data on my mac. thanks a lot
Enigmatic
Enigmatic - April 29, 2011 at 6:10pm
Thank you very much for this instructional information, it works perfectly. For those who claim it causes problems are wrong this is a completely correct order of operations to accomplish changing the Home Folder Name. The only reason people do this wrong is because they are not skilled in understanding instructions for administration of a computer. READ ALL DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY, IF DONE RIGHT IT WILL WORK AND CAUSE NO PROBLEMS OR LOST DOCUMENTS AT ALL.
Izzan
Izzan - January 20, 2010 at 3:02am
yesterday i heard this rumor : if you change your short name, you cannot update mac. is it true? i just scared if i change, and this will be happen to me. please reply to my e-mail adress
Izzan
Izzan - January 20, 2010 at 3:12am
i almost forget my email address: hellix@live.com
Fats
Fats - September 13, 2011 at 2:10pm
IMHO you've got the right asnwer!
rubeN
rubeN - September 10, 2009 at 4:03pm
That's dumb that you must go thru all that process just to change that folders name.
dogface
dogface - July 22, 2009 at 9:32pm
thank you! lifesaver of an article.
Unix geek
Unix geek - July 21, 2009 at 5:14am
Why bother enabling the root user?! Create a temporary user with admin access. Open Terminal cd /Users sudo mv Admin iClarified Then you follow the rest of your steps...
iClarified
iClarified - July 21, 2009 at 10:13am
These are the steps officially outlined by Apple. There are likely other methods; however, if a user gets stuck Apple could continue to assist them with this procedure. Also its possible that moving the home folder while you are actively using that folder could cause problems.
Pablo
Pablo - July 24, 2009 at 10:52am
I there: I followed the step one by one but now sometimes that I tray to install some programns or do something like add programnst to be opened in different "Spaces" I cant do it due to I dont have some permissions!! Could you help me, please Thanks in advance
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