Installing Windows With Custom User Folder Name


For some mysterious reason, whenever I walked through the normal Windows install, and set up my account (via my Microsoft email), my user folder would be created as C:\Users\vasua. I didn’t recall ever explicitly setting that as my username during the installation procedure. It turns out that Windows automatically generates a 5 character username for you based on the name you have assigned in your Microsoft email address. I didn’t like the idea of a computer deciding where my files would be located, so I tried to figure out how to change my username. Unfortunately, it seems the best way is to create a new account entirely with the username you desire, and then migrate over to that. That seems unsatisfactory.

The “better” solution is to just fix the problem directly at install time. The trick, as this reddit post points out, is to use an offline (local) installation of Windows first, set your username, and then log in to your Microsoft account once Windows is all set up. This worked for Windows 10 Home. Unfortunately, Windows 11 Home doesn’t allow local installation, but Windows 11 Pro does, so consider yourself lucky if you happen to have a Pro license. This is what you need to do:

  1. Go through the first few steps of the Windows install as normal, until it asks you to connect to the internet (wifi / ethernet).

  2. Say that you don’t have an internet connection available, and move on.

  3. Use your desired username in the Your Name field when it then asks you to make an account.

    Make sure to enter your desired username exactly, capitalization and all. That is, don’t make the mistake of typing in e.g. Vasu Agrawal, as that’ll result in your home directory having a space in it (C:\Users\Vasu Agrawal), which just causes all kinds of problems. Instead, use e.g. vasuagrawal, to get C:\Users\vasuagrawal.

  4. Finish the rest of the install as normal. Maybe set up the partitions favorably for dual booting, as in [[drive-partitioning-for-dual-booting]].

  5. Observe that your files are present in C:\Users\<your chosen username>, rather than `C:\Users<generated username>

  6. Log in to your Microsoft account by hitting the Windows key and searching for Your Account Info.


Reddit post describing this issue