Rename Windows 8 Profile dir

So, I ran into a weird situation: when I installed Windows, I used Live account to create my user. In preview version of Windows 8 it created a profile dir based on the user part of e-mail address of the Live account, so from [email protected] it created an user hrgy with same profile dir. However, the final version is changed it to create account based on your first name, it was “Gábor” in this case. Notice the accented second letter.

The problem with folders containing non-ASCII char in its name is obvious: not all program can handle it correctly. It has a displaying problems in some apps, and some apps cannot create their files in this profile.

The fix was not so easy but I now describe required steps.

First if you do not have an another administrator user than you, then you have to create it. Windows 8 does not allow to log into the built-in Administrator account anymore, so you have to create one in Control Panel. It’s pretty straighforward and net contains a bunch of howtos for it, so I skip describing this step.

Now, log out from your account, and log in into the new one.

Start regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

In the subkeys (subfolders) find one what displays your old dirname in ProfileImagePath attribute. In my case the value was C:\Users\Gábor. Right click, edit and replace last part of the path to what you want to use.

Important: Even if world collapsing, do not log in into your own account (what being modified) until you finish these steps!

Then, you have to reboot into Safe mode. The easiest way is press Shift + F8 during boot. If you seeing the Windows splash displaying in “wrong” resolution then you are in Safe mode.

Important: you have to log in into the newly created admin account, not into your own one!

Then you have to rename your profile folder. Start a command prompt in Safe mode, and type following:

cd C:\Users
move old_name new_name

The old_name is the old name of your profile directory, the new_name is what you specified in RegEdit. In my case it was:

cd C:\Users
move Gábor hron

Now you are done! If you striclty follwed this tutorial, then if you reboot and log in into your account, you do not see any change, except the %USERPROFILE% environment variable carries the new name.

Note: I saw only one bug: iCloud Photo stream stored the full path of my Pictures folder in its database and I had to relocate it. It’s a bug in iCloud, not a Windows problem.

Disclaimer: This tutorial is tested by me but I do not guarantee anything. Take a backup from your important data before start doing this. I am not responsible if your data lose, you cannot login anymore or your kitten vanishes.