User folder renamed in windows 7

skates94 used Ask the Experts™
I have a user named Mary.  All of her data was in c:\windows\users\mary\ .  Somehow starting in October, all of data is in c:\windows\users\user .  The Mary folder is still there but with just a few files.  The username at login is still Mary and that is the only account.  

1 - How do I fix this?  Can I just copy the user folders under the mary folder?  Do I have to change any registry settings so my documents etc point in the right place?  Should I create another login MaryS and then just copy everything there?

2 - How did this happen?
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Depending on what else has changed, you might be able to copy the folder back. It shounds like some wndows bug has changed her account or a slip of the mouse.

Before doing anything, I'd backup all oyu files and if possible run a Pc backup.

It sounds like your not in a domain. We run everything in a domain where the user wouldn't have security to do this.

Let me know how it works out.


I can copy the data from User to Mary but the junction point, etc point to User.   This is a stand-alone Windows 7 machine.
Darren SharplesSystems Specialist

I thought user profiles were stored under c:\users ?

Anyway, you can check the below in regedit to see where the local profile paths are pointing.  Look for something similar to %USERPROFILE%\Documents (this one is the Documents directory)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
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In Windows 7, the user profile should be in c:\Users\username.. not in C:\Documents and Settings. That was the old XP location and now it's a junction point that points to c:\Users\Username..


Sharpting - It could be!   I'm on a Mac right now and was trying to go from memory.  The path was users\mary\ and now almost all of her files including the latest are in users\user\

So I can go into the registry and see what is happening but how does that resolve the issue?  Do I change it in the registry?  How do I know if I fix everything if I do it manually?  I'm a bit nervous going that route.

How could this have happened?
Take a backup incase you need to restore anything...


TG-TIS - Yes, I probably wrote that part wrong.  The issue is that her files are mostly under \users\user and not under \users\mary.  I don't want to just copy the files because Windows somehow thinks everything should be under \users\user.  

How can I either change everything back to users\mary so that all her applications etc know that everything should go there?

Or should I create a new account called marys and have everything go to \users\marys\?  I don't know how she got the user folder but it's confusing to her and she wants it under her name.  Although if I do the marys route, then her wallpaper, favorites, etc will need to be updated.
I would take a backup, then check the registry and correct it, the try copying the folders back to the correct location. if that does not work, jst recreate her account. You might want to make it Mary2 to eliminate any problems.
Darren SharplesSystems Specialist

This might be a long shot but is there an account on this machine called "user"? could it be that someone dragged and dropped Mary's profile folder into the User folder?

I wouldnt worry too much about it, just fix it and worry about it if it happens again.  

First, log in as Mary and go to the location in regedit that I mentioned above.  You will see straight away if there is a problem (it will be c:\users\user\mary\desktop instead of %USERPROFILE%\Desktop for example)

Copy the folder back to where it should be, correct the registry and log out and back in.

Make a backup of the files also


The only user on the account is Mary.
IT System Administrator
this happens to a OS related issue. if you can find data without issue just copy it to requiered profile. beware with file & folder permission.
windows 7 default user profile path is c:\users\user name

just create a new user & see where it creates user profile. it should be in c:\users\user name
do not try to play with registry at this situation. because you have only one user. if you go with a ne installation, it will be very easy for you to future trouble shooting. my reccomondation is fresh install.
kindly ignore if you do not like my suggestions..
thank you..


Thank you everyone.  The registry changes didn't solve the problem.  Creating a new profile/user did.

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