Renamed user folder, what problems can occur?

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by domemvs, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. domemvs macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2009
    Hi all.

    I bought a new MacBook Pro and I migrated my data with the Migration Assistant. Everything worked quite well expect that my new user folder was not named "dome" but "dome 1", which really annoyed me.

    So I followed the following steps to rename my user folder back to "dome":

    After that I also repaired the permissions in Disk Utility.

    When I logged in to my account the first thing I've noticed is that Dropbox did not work anymore. Dropbox still "thought" that the old path "/dome 1/DropBox" instead of "/dome/DropBox" was still the right one. I could fix this problem by deleting all dropbox files, including the ones which cannot be found so easy (hidden folders in user folder etc.).

    Well now I actually think that if Dropbox has issues with new paths, other applications might have some problems as well. Doing some Google research I found out that most people do not recommend to change the name of the user folder at all.

    Fortunately I have a Time Machine Backup with all my important data so I am now thinking about migrating data to a very new user again. This on the other hand would be pain in the a**, because of all the applications that need to be reactivated like Microsoft Office etc.

    What would you recommend? Use the computer as it is or create an all new user account? What other common issues can be witnessed after renaming the user folder? Is it possible that Dropbox is the only app that has problems with that?

    I'd love to hear what you guys would do in this situation. I somehow have a bad feeling right now.
  2. scaredpoet, Jun 19, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014

    scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    You should be fine for most everything else. I've had to rename my user folder as well, and Dropbox was the only thing I had issues with. They seem to hardwire the specific directory for dropbox syncing and that causes issues. It's not good coding on their part, but it's probably a pretty rare case that they almost never encounter.

    Most software, made by decent programmers, will instead use the UNIX "~/" convention when referring to a user's home directory and its contents. This way it doesn't matter what the name of the user's directory is, or if it changed. "~/" always refers to the current user, whatever name they might be using. And that way, problems like this get avoided.

    Other than this though, I've not had any problems. And as soon as iCloud drive is launched, I plan on ditching Dropbox anyway.
  3. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2014
    If it breaks anything, the developers of the offending software deserve a headslap for hardcoding the user's home directory name into their application instead of using ~/.

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