Renaming a user account via Computer Management console or the User  Accounts applet does not rename the associated user profile folder. Here is how  to manually rename the user profile folder in Windows XP

Rename the User Profile folder using Windows Explorer

  • Logon to an admin account that is not the account being renamed.
  • Open the Documents and Settings folder, by typing this in Start, Run dialog:

%systemdrive%\Documents and Settings

  • The list of folders will be displayed. Select the corresponding folder of the  user account that you want to rename.


%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\OldUsername


%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\NewUsername

Next step is to notify the system that the user profile path has changed.

Changing the ProfileImagePath value in the registry

ProfileImagePath registry value

The ProfileList registry key contains some sub-keys, which are nothing but the list of User Account Security  Identifiers (SID). Each of the SID represents an Account. The key is located  here:

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

Identify the SID for your User account, and change the Profile path

  • To know the SID for your user account, you may use the  script sidlist.vbs
  • Download the script and run it.  (The User Account names and SIDs will be listed in a log file, and opened  automatically.)
  • Note down the SID for  your account.
  • Then, in the Registry Editor, select the correct SID that belongs to your  user account.
  • In the right-pane, double-click the ProfileImagePath value and change  the profile path. ( The ProfileImagePath stores the full path  of the User account home folder. )

Close Registry Editor, and restart Windows. See if you’re able to logon to  that user profile successfully. Additionally, to verify if the path has been  changed successfully, type SET in the Command Prompt. In case you find any  abnormal behavior when running an application, you may undo the above  procedure.

To identify the user’s profile path by the user SID

  1. Use the Getsid tool from the Windows Server Resource Kit to obtain the SID. At a command prompt, use the following syntax:
    getsid \\ComputerName UserName \\ComputerName UserName

    For example:

    getsid \\windowsxp joedoe \\windowsxp joedoe

    The results look something like this:

    = The SID for account WINDOWSXP\joedoe is S-1-5-21-1708537768-1993962763-1957994488-1003
  2. After you obtain the user SID, start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe or Regedt32.exe), and then select the user SID under the following registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

To create a duplicate of a user profile (with a different user name), use these steps:

  • Create a new user account
  • Logon to that account to initialize the newly created profile
  • Log off from the newly created profile
  • Login as Administrator (the built-in administrator account)
  • Open Control Panel, double-click System
  • Click the Advanced tab
  • Click Settings under User Profiles
  • Select a profile to copy from and choose Copy To
  • Browse to the profile to copy to (C:\Documents and Settings\newuser)
  • In Permitted to use, click Change
  • In the Select User or Group dialog box, type the new user account name and press ENTER.