Signing in with Microsoft account to a Windows laptop has many benefits. It allows automatic sync of our files across different devices, making work with multiple devices seamless, assuming one actually wants all of his/her machines have the same settings and files. However, it also brings one annoying issue: the name of user folder.

When we set up a new Windows laptop with Windows 10, it will ask user to login with Microsoft account. Strangely, it will create user folder using the first 5 character of the user’s first name. In my case, it created a user folder in my laptop with folder name “rober”. Since this user folder is linked to many Windows features, renaming this folder using incorrect method will cause a number of unexpected issues with Windows 10.

Many websites will offer you some guides of playing around with Windows registries or some other hack. I tried some of them, only to waste hours of my time trying to reinstall my broken Windows afterwards. After several failed attempts, I figured out that the trigger of this 5 characters folder creation is when I choose to login to my laptop using Microsoft account. If I choose to login using local account, it will create “Robert” as my user folder. Later on, I can still login to my Microsoft Office using my Microsoft account. I can still use OneDrive and some cloud services from Microsoft. I just opt not to use Microsoft account when I first setting up my user account.

What if you already set up user account with Microsoft account? Follow the following steps to have a user folder with desired name:

  • Create a backup of your files and setting in an external drive.
  • Some apps might need deactivation to be reactivated in new Windows account, take care of these depending on which apps you have in your computer.
  • Go to Settings app and create a new user with Administrator right. This will be your new account so fill in the information carefully. The account name you put here will be your user folder name.
  • If Microsoft tried to convince you to use your Microsoft account, say no, there is always a choice to skip that.
  • Login with your new account.
  • Verify that folder name is correct as you expected.
  • Copy your files to the new account. Make sure you have set up everything just like your previous account.
  • Once you verify everything works as expected, delete your old account.

That’s it, nice and easy. No Regedit or some risky step involved. Hopefully the steps above would be useful.