How To - Change Your Short Username in Mac OS X 10.4 or Higher

Support Desk -

 

Before changing the short username:
  1. Disable automatic login. (System Preferences --> Accounts)
  2. Disable File Vault. (System Preferences --> Security)
  3. Log in to a user that is NOT the user you are changing (10.4).
  4. For additional security, backup your data!
Instructions for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger:
  1. Download the ChangeShortName script.
  2. Launch the ChangeShortName application.
  3. Select the current short name you want to change.
  4. Type in the new short name and long name and select 'Restart When Finished'.

In 10.5 through 10.8:

  1. Enable the root user.
  2. Log in as root and navigate to the /Users folder.
  3. Rename the client Home folder (no spaces or special characters).
  4. Go to System Preferences > Accounts and create a new user with the same short name in step 3.
  5. Click OK when "A folder in the Users folder already has the name…". Wait.
  6. Once the dialog box goes away choose Log Out from the Apple menu.
  7. Log in as the newly created user.
  8. Verify everything looks good and delete the original user account via the Accounts pane of System Preferences.
  9. Disable the root user.

This article references two Apple kbase articles:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1428 - How to change user short name or home directory name

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1528 - Enabling and using the "root" user in Mac OS X

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