Changing a short user name

According to Apple there is no way to change a short user name in OS X. Well, here's how to do it.

First, we need to enable the root account. To do this login to your Mac with an account that can administer the computer. Then, run Netinfo Manager. This program is located in Applications/Utilities. Once Netinfo Manager is running go under the Security menu and Authenticate.

Now, go back under the Security menu and enable the root user. You'll be prompted to provide a password for the root account. Please supply a good strong password for this account as anyone getting access to your Mac as root can do all sorts of nasty things.

Log Out of the current account and log back in as root. When the Finder comes up run Netinfo Manager again and authenticate as root.

Netinfo Manager displays a column view of the Netinfo database. The first column shows just a "/". In the second column you'll see entries for aliases, config, etceterra. Near, or at the bottom, of this column will be an entry called users. Click on the word users.

The third column will fill with the short names of all of the accounts on the computer. Find the name of the account you wish to change and click it. The bottom part of the Netinfo Manager window will fill with the records for the account.

At this point simply go through the entire list of records and change every occurrence of the old short name to the new short name. By my count there should be seven occurrences that need to be changed.

Once you have finished this task save the changes to the Netinfo database and quit Netinfo Manager.

Now switch to the Finder and open the /Users/ folder at the root of the hard disk and change the name of the home folder from the old short name to the new short name.

You're now finished. You can log out and try logging back in with the new short user name. Everything should AOK. If not, log back in as root and make certain that you changed all instances of the old short name to the new short name.

For security reasons, once you've tested the changes, you should go into Netinfo Manager and disable the root account.

© 2008 Bryan P. Schappel • Valid XHTML Transitional • Valid CSS