I have created a new user but the new user's home directory has the old users path. How can I update my new user's home directory so that the terminal opens to this directory and all software considers this new directory my home directory? I'm using OS x 10.8.4.

  • 3
    Can you shed a bit more light on what process you performed to get to the current state? If you created a new user, it should not be referencing the home directory of another user.
    – tubedogg
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 20:14
  • I created a new user through system preferences and then users & groups but when I open a command prompt and I use the $pwd command it takes me to /. I would like for it to take me to /Users/newuser. Whenever I run software, like maven for example, it uses / as the home directory which causes problems
    – c12
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 0:02
  • 1
    Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups and click the Lock to authenticate, then right-click on the new account you created and choose Advanced Options. Post a screenshot of that (you can blank out the UUID if you want).
    – tubedogg
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 0:15
  • @tubedogg that was the exact option I was looking for. The advanced options was set to an invalid location. can you post this as a solution?
    – c12
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 15:01

3 Answers 3


Apple's support site provides steps to change the "account name" (that is, the name of the home folder for a particular user).

  1. Enable the root user (using these steps).
  2. Log in as root.
  3. Navigate to the /Users folder.
  4. Select the Home folder with the short name you want to change, and rename it just like you would rename any folder. Keep in mind that the shortname must be all lowercase, with no spaces, and only contain letters.
  5. Use the Users & Groups pane (Accounts pane in Mac OS X v10.6.8 or earlier) in System Preferences to create a new user with the Account name or Short Name that you used in the previous step.
  6. Click OK when "A folder in the Users folder already has the name 'account name'. Would you like to use that folder as the Home folder for this user account?" appears. Note: This will correct the ownership of all files in the Home folder, and avoid permissions issues with the contents.
  7. Choose Log Out from the Apple menu. Log in as the newly created user. You should be able to access all of your original files (on the desktop, in Documents, and in the other folders of this Home).
  8. After verifying that your data is as expected, you can delete the original user account via the Users & Groups pane (Accounts pane in Mac OS X v10.6.8 or earlier).
  9. Disable the root user (using these steps).
  • I don't understand the step4.
    – aircraft
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 13:34

A safer way to change the home folder associated with an account is to do so through System Preferences.

  1. Click on the Apple menu, then System Preferences.
  2. Select Users & Groups.
  3. Click the lock at the bottom left and authenticate as an administrator.
  4. Right-click on the account you want to change and select Advanced Options.
  5. Change the "Home directory" path and click OK.
  • An update for Ventura and later: "Press and hold the Control key on your keyboard, then click the name of the account that you're renaming. Choose Advanced Options from the menu that appears." per support.apple.com/en-us/HT201548
    – Nikita R.
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 2:44

You can assign a home folder to something other than "/Users/yourUserName" in the Terminal.

sudo dscl . -create /Users/YourUserName NFSHomeDirectory /path/to/new/home/folder
  • Yeah, but this create the Home directory with root as owner, right?
    – Jorge Gil
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 7:09
  • @JorgeGil maybe doing sudo -u username ... will use the correct owner?
    – Antoine
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 12:57

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