I wanted to rename my user account and followed the following Apple support directions: https://support.apple.com/hr-hr/HT201548

Per the instructions, I created a new user account with admin privileges, and while logged in under the new account, I first renamed my original user folder (under /Users/ (via Finder > Go To Folder)). Next, under System Prefs > Users & Groups, I right clicked on my original account and clicked advanced options. I changed the account name field to match what I had just renamed the user folder. The “Full name” field was my full name. Notably, I did not edit the “Home directory” field (I believe this is what caused my problem). I hit OK and restarted, and when I logged in as the original user, whose name I had just tried to change, my data was gone, I got all the prompts to set up my Mac, etc. Under System Prefs > Users & Groups, I noticed that both the account I was logged into and the admin account I’d just created to do the name change had lost admin privileges (both were “Standard”). When I tried to unlock and access advanced settings, none of my previous admin username/password combos worked.

I read this thread: < Renaming user failed, lost admin rights> and ended up booting up in single user mode to create a new user with admin privileges. I was able to grant admin rights back to my original user account. However, this account still had none of my data. Under Advanced Options in System Pref, the "Account Name" field for the original user had not changed -- it was still the original account name which I had tried to get rid of.

Under /Users/ I can see that my data is still there a user folder -- its name is the name I had tried to change in the "Account Name" field for the original user, yet it isn’t associated with any of the users listed under Users & Groups. It’s in limbo.

How can I regain access to this user account and it’s data? I thought about simply changing the "Account Name" field of one of the users with admin privileges which I can access in Users & Groups match the user folder name, but I don’t want to overwrite the data in that folder.


1 Answer 1


I was able to associate my original User with the user data lost in limbo under /Users/[new Account Name]. While logged in as another user with admin privileges, go to System Prefs > Users & Groups. Right click to go to Advanced Options on the user you'd like to associate with the folder /Users/[new Account Name]. Under the "Home Directory" field, click "Choose" and select [new Account Name], confirm that the path in the field reads /Users/[new AccountName]. Important: Don't change the "Account Name" field. Click OK, restart, log in under the User whose home directory you just changed and verify that the user data is present. Once verified, you can change the "Account Name" associated with that user by following the same procedure (log in as another user with admin privileges, right-click to Advanced Options, change the "Account Name" field, click OK and restart. For some reason, when I tried to change both the home directory and the account name, this did not work, but when I did it step-wise it did. Hope this helps others.

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