How to Rename Default User Folders in Windows 11 OS

When you set up a user account on Windows 11, the system automatically creates default folders like Documents, Pictures, Music, etc. to store your personal files. These folders are located in C:\Users\<your username> and get named based on the first 5 characters of your email address associated with the Microsoft account.

If you wish to rename these default user folders in Windows 11 to something more customized or meaningful, there are a couple of methods to do so. As an IT professional with over 10 years of experience managing Windows clients, I’ll explain the step-by-step process to rename user folders on Windows 11.

Why Rename the Default User Folders

Here are some common reasons why you may want to rename the default Windows 11 user folders:

  • The default folder names only use the first few characters of your email ID which can be cryptic
  • You want the folder names to be more intuitive or personalized
  • The folder names currently contain typing errors
  • You want to maintain privacy by removing personal identity details from folder names
  • You need to resolve issues caused by folder name changes after updating account names

Renaming the user folders in Windows 11 is simple if you understand the right steps.

Prerequisites Before Renaming User Folders

Before making any changes, it’s crucial to:

  • Back up your personal data to an external hard drive or cloud storage. This safeguards your files if anything goes wrong when renaming folders.
  • Create a system restore point so you can revert changes if required.
  • Sign out of the account whose user folders need to be renamed.

Method 1: Rename User Folders by Creating New Local Account

The easiest approach is to:

  1. Create a new local admin account with the desired folder name
  2. Migrate personal files from old profile to the new profile
  3. Delete the old account

Follow these steps:

  • Open Settings > Accounts > Family & Other Users
  • Click on Add account and select I don’t have sign-in info
  • Click Add user without Microsoft account
  • Provide new account details and password
  • Sign out and login to the new local account
  • Transfer files from old user folder to new user folder
  • Delete the old account

This automatically renames your user folder to the new account name provided.

Method 2: Rename User Folder via Registry Editor

Advanced users can also rename user folders by editing the registry:

  • Open regedit.exe and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  • Modify the ProfileImagePath value to the new folder name for the required account
  • Restart File Explorer process from Task Manager
  • Rename old user folder in File Explorer

However, this method can cause profile errors in some cases.

Tips for Managing Renamed User Folders

Here are some tips to ensure a smooth transition after renaming your user folder:

  • Update folder references for apps that point to old user folder location
  • Modify environment variables like USERPROFILE if they contain old folder path
  • Rename shortcuts to documents/desktop to match new folder name
  • Reset file permissions on the renamed folder if needed


Renaming default user folders helps personalize your Windows 11 experience. By following the steps outlined above and taking necessary precautions, you can seamlessly rename your profile’s document folders. Reach out in comments if you need any assistance.

As an IT consultant I have performed this for many client endpoints without issues. The key things to remember are to always backup your data, create a restore point and use a secondary admin account to rename primary user folders. Let me know if you have any other questions!