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93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I just recently brought a new laptop (vista) which had some stuff preinstalled.

Now I noticed the directory is C:/User/user1

Instead of C:\Documents and Settings\"Name of User" like Windows XP.

How do I change it so it reads C:\Documents and Settings\"Name of User" or what ever the default directory name is for Vista.

I just don't want C:/User/user1 as it confuses me.

I tried renaming the computer through Mycomputer but it doesn't seem to work


Administrator, Manager, Microsoft Support, MVP
34,403 Posts
XP "Documents and Settings" = "Users" - Vista

and -

"Documents and Settings" in Vista is a Junction, not a folder. It re-directs apps to \users
You cannot use docs & settings

Microsoft MVP
3,339 Posts
Here's how to rename your administrative account's name.
That only changes the username of the Administrator account, not the name of the profile folder. You can do the same for all other accounts with the User Accounts control panel by clicking the Change your account name link.

Renaming the folder would require editing the registry just so it could associate the new folder name with the old account. Then you would have to find and change every hard coded reference to the old folder name in the registry. Not an easy task, as some entries are stored in hexadecimal or Unicode, and the find feature in regedit only searches plain text.

Vista's default location for profiles is C:\Users\<username>
It no longer uses Documents and Settings

The user1 folder is the profile folder for a user account. The folder name is usually the same as the Username, but the account can be renamed. The folder name never changes once created, same as in XP

If you want the account name and profile folder name to match, you need to create a new account with the name you want (may have to rename the current account first), copy over any data, then delete this user1 account.
If you are not sure which profile folder is being used for a particular account, do the following from that account:

Open a Command prompt (Click Start, type cmd, press Enter)
type Set USER and press Enter.
check the following variables:

USERNAME will be the name you see on the Welcome screen, and in the User Accounts control panel
USERPROFILE is the profile folder

You can copy a user account using the User Profile Wizard.
Here's the basics:

Using the User Profile Wizard to copy a profile

If you use Windows Mail, or Windows Live Mail, this will NOT copy your emails. You will have to copy/move those files from the old profile to the new. The files are located here:
C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail
where <username> is the profile folder for the account

Other programs that also use the AppData\Local folder will need to have their data copied as well.

The mail account info will be copied, though you will have to re-enter your username and password. This is because each profile uses a different key to encrypt passwords, and you can't just copy that info.

Also, if you use file encryption, make sure you have exported your key, or you will not be able to access your encrypted folders.

If you have programs that were installed for just that user, they may have registry entries that this procedure will not change, which will require re-installing the program, or manually editing the registry.

You cannot be logged into the Account you are copying from or to, so you will need a third account that is a Computer Administrator to do the copying from.

  1. Create new account, log into it once so the folder is created.
  2. Log into an administrative account.
    This cannot be the account you are copying from or to, so Use the Built-in Administrator account (have to enable it first) or create a temp account
  3. Right click Computer, click Properties
  4. Click Advanced System Settings (you'll get a UAC prompt)
  5. Click the Advanced tab
  6. Click the Settings... button under User Profiles
  7. Highlight the account you wish to copy, then click the Copy to... button
  8. Click the Browse button and navigate to the New user profile (C:\Users\<newaccountname>)
  9. Select it then click OK
  10. Under Permitted to use, click the Change button
  11. Type in the new user name, then click the Check Names button
    This will prepend the PC name and check for errors.
  12. Click OK, then click OK again
  13. You'll get a warning that the contents of the destination will be overwritten, click on Yes
  14. Once it's finished copying, Click OK, then click OK again
  15. Click OK to close the User Profile Wizard.
  16. Close System Properties.
  17. Copy the Windows Mail folders if needed.

Log into the new account and confirm your data is all there, then to save disk space you can log into the account you copied from and clear the Internet Cache, delete duplicate files in Documents and Favorites, etc.
Or, you can just delete the User folder under Users. The next time you log into the that account, it will be re-created as a brand new account.

Or, just delete the account from the User Account control panel if you no longer want the account.

Note that if you have shortcuts on your desktop or start menu that point to files in your profile (Documents for example), the Target of the shortcut should be updated, but the Start In folder might not be updated, and will still point to the profile it was copied from. So if you delete that profile, the shortcut may stop working.



93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
TheOutcaste thank you for your help. I don't think I am going to risk doing all that just to change the name. I thought it would be straight forward.

Another query.

I have set up an account so that as the admin (Me) I would need a password to log on. I have no other users besides me, because I wanted to just have a password on my laptop. (Security).

Thats fine and all but now I find when I try to install something or delete something. I get a pop up box telling me to confirm the action. But I dont understand why its doing that as I am the admim? This is normal or is there a way to get rid of the confirmation box?

edit: The pop up box reads
User Account Control
A program needs your permission to continue. Click continue or cancel.

Microsoft MVP
3,339 Posts
That's a new feature in Vista and Sever 2008. You can read about it here.

Only the real Administrator account (which is disabled by default) will not get the UAC prompts.

It can be turned off in Control Panel | User Accounts | Turn User Account Control on or off


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