Using a company computer and creating files and whatnot, it always lists the author as being 'pseudonym'•. Through advanced settings in Users & Groups, I can change the the Account name (ie, the short name) to the name I want, but anywhere I've searched on the internet always states that the Home directory must also be changed to reflect the new Acct. name. Using the Advanced Settings, is there any problem with having the AccountName and Home directory not being the same? Can I have my account name 'xXx_dArkSephiroth42_xXx'• and my home directory be 'pseudonym' without any problems?

• Names changed to protect identity

Edit: Wanted to highlight using only the Advanced Settings

  • 2
    The short name is the home directory. Are you looking to break that 1:1 mapping with some modification or just learn how to use the "full" name instead of the "short" name for your account?
    – bmike
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 18:11

3 Answers 3


Yes, the full name is unrelated to the short name and you can change the full name without needing to change the short name.


The account name and home directory don’t have to match.

“Users & Groups” doesn’t give fine-grained control like you want.

Use the dscl utility from the command line. Check the man page carefully; it has a weird way of doing things. For example, you repeatedly use the -create option to set each attribute. Also, you’ll probably use “.” as the datasource, meaning the local machine.

To set the home directory, do this:

dscl . -create /Users/somebody NFSHomeDirectory /Users/somewhere

(note: this is not just for NFS) You’ll have to change the actual directory names separately; dscl will not do this.

I recommend defining a test user first and playing around with these options until you understand exactly what they’re doing.

  • This is a good answer, but I am not going to mark it as the answer, unfortunately. Yes, it does technically answer my questions, but it also presupposes a familiarity with the command line, whereas I was trying to focus on the Advanced Settings of Users & Groups only.
    – n_b
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 18:32

No. The answer is no- at least, not by using the advanced settings from Users & Groups. I've just tried it. The Account name, ie the 'short name', is mapped to the home directory in such a way that just changing it will cause massive problems on your computer (why they allow you to change one of the two is beyond me). If you do change it, you will have to log-in using a separate admin account to fix the problems you have made. If you do not have a separate log-in account, (at least in my case), when you try to log in to your broken account, you will log in as a temporary user called 'System Administrator'. Using this account, create a new admin account and then log out. If the new admin account is not visible, it may be necessary to start the machine in safe mode. Once you log in using the new admin account, you can right-click on your broken account and modify the Advanced settings once again. I suggest setting them back the way they were. Your system-specific preferences (Finder, Dock, Scroll direction, etc) will probably be reset, but it's a small price to pay for doing something that can really mess up your computer.

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