When you first install Windows, it prompts you to create a user account and choose a name for it. This becomes your logon name (also called as the user name). Windows also creates a separate display name for you. If you type your full name when creating an account, Windows creates a logon name based on the first name and your full name is stored as the display name. You can easily change your display name from the User Accounts Control Panel but what about the logon name? You can change the logon name too without having to create a new user account but the way to change it isn't so obvious. Here is how to do it.
Several years ago, when Windows XP was released, it featured a new Welcome screen with avatars and a user list. It was friendlier for people who were not familiar with earlier versions of Windows, where you had to type your logon name as well as the password.
The Welcome screen still exists in modern versions of Windows. It shows a list of users with their display name, which is different from the logon name. The display name is usually the first and last name in case of an individual, but it can be anything, and can include special characters like " / \ [ ] : ; | = , + * ? < >. The logon name can't include these special characters. In Windows XP, there was an option to choose between the Welcome screen and the classic style logon. In newer Windows versions, the classic style of logon is made less prominent (it can be enabled using Group Policy).
There are several cases where you might need to view or change your logon name. For example, in an enterprise network, you need to know it to sign in to Active Directory. Depending on the devices you have and your home network setup, the logon name may be required to access various network shares or administrative resources on another PC. If you need to change it, follow these simple instructions.
- Run File Explorer.
- Right click the This PC icon in the navigation pane and select Manage from its context menu:
- The Computer Management window will appear on the screen. In the left pane, expand the tree nodes to go to Computer Management -> System Tools -> Local Users and Groups -> Users.
In the screenshot above, you can see that my actual logon name (user account name) is st, but the logon screen of Windows 8.1 shows the display name, which is 'Sergey Tkachenko'.
- Select the user name from the list in the right pane, right click it and choose Rename.
- The first column of the user list will become editable, so you can specify a new logon name:
Press Enter. Now you can close Computer Management.
That's it. As you can see, it is very easy to change your logon name. This is an old, well known trick and is also applicable to very old versions of Windows such as Windows 2000. But ever since Windows XP, the User Accounts Control Panel only lets you change the user name. You need to use Local Users and Groups MMC snap-in or the Advanced User Accounts Control Panel (netplwiz.exe) to change the logon name.
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