I want to change the name of my home directory, which is also known as the "short" user name in OSX Lion. Apple Support provides a guide for changing the short name, but when I try to follow the instructions in the guide, my Mac does not do what the instructions say it should do. As a result, I can not change the short name.
The guide says:
For Mac OS X v10.5 or later
- Enable the root user.
- Log in as root.
- Navigate to the /Users folder.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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).
- Disable the root user.
I can get as far as item #5, but then things don't go as they are supposed to. After sigining in as root, and changing the name of the home folder to the new name (steps 1-4), I open the Users & Groups pane of the System Preferences, and create a new user. In the "Account name" field, I enter the new folder name (same name used in step #4), as instructed. Here is where the instructions are incorrect. I never see the message described in step #6: "A folder in the Users folder already has the name 'account name'.". Instead, when I type the new name of the folder (the new short user name) into the "Account name" field, an error message appears, in red text, below the Account name field, which says:
"Name is used by another user."
There is no button to click 'OK' to make this error message go away. And there is no way to leave the field -- If I click anywhere else in the pane the cursor immediately returns (automatically) to the Account name field. Essentially, it is impossible to create the account as long as the error message remains. There is therefore no way to change the short name to the name of the folder I changed in step #4!
What gives? The behavior of the Systems Preferences "Users & Groups" pane does not agree with the behavior described in the guide provided by Apple, which is supposed to pertain to Lion, which I am using (10.7.3). This is on a 2012 Macbook Pro.