What is short name?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by dlb253, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. dlb253 macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    I just bought my very first mac and am going through setup. I notice already that the name appearing under Macintosh HDD does not match the user name I specified during setup?

    Is this the short name I've been reading about? Can someone explain to me what the short name is, why it's different than the user name? Also, is the user name the same as the home directory name? I'm confused by all these "names" i've been reading about.

  2. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    Hard Drive name is just that: hard drive name. You can click on the hard drive name and call it ANYTHING you want. Has NOTHING to do with users.

    As for the other questions, Google is your friend: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1428
  3. mickbab macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    The short name is the name used for your home directory. Mine is highlighted on the left in the picture.

    By default, when John Smith sets up his Mac, the short name will be set to johnsmith. I changed mine, as you can see in the picture below.

    The difference is that the user name (John Smith) is used for logging in and authorisation etc. whilst the short name (johnsmith) is the name for the home directory and some other things probably.

  4. dlb253 thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    I found the following on apple's support website, which says the same thing basically:

    Each user in Mac OS X has a full "Name" and a "Short Name" as defined in the Users pane of System Preferences. The short name can contain up to 255 lowercase characters with no spaces (or up to 8 character in Mac OS X 10.1.5 or earlier). This is the name used to create a user's home directory (also known as the user's Home or Home folder) in the Users folder.

    If you try to change your Short Name in the Accounts (or Users) pane of System Preferences, it may be dimmed and you cannot change it.

    But on mine, I only have an "Accounts" pane (not Users) under system preferences, and the short name doesn't even appear at all.

    Is there an easy way to change the short name? I haven't even migrated any files over yet...theres nothing on my computer. Would it be easier just to start over from scratch?
  5. dlb253 thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Also off apple support website:

    If you really need to change your user account short name and home directory name (which should match), use the advanced procedure described below. Although you can change your Home name in Mac OS X 10.3 or later, you usually shouldn't.

    So how would I do a "system restore" so to speak...basically start over and erase everything i've done so far?
  6. Hal Itosis macrumors 6502a

    Hal Itosis

    Feb 20, 2010
    Please tell me you're not running Panther in 2010.

    Different OS versions had different methods. Assuming Leopard (10.5) or later, this is what you should read:

    "Changing the short username in Leopard" - by Dan Frakes, Mar 28, 2008

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