Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Changing your computer name or your login name is easy, but there are certain limits. I'll show you how, and then discuss what cannot be changed.
I recently married and need to change the name on my computer - not just the name of the computer - where do I go to change it?
As your question alludes to, it depends somewhat on which name you mean: your computer's name, or your login name.
Computer name: easy to change.
Your login name: easy to change - mostly. There's one part that, when it comes down to it, is pretty close to impossible to change.
Right click on Computer or My Computer, on your desktop or Start menu, and click on Properties. Click on Advanced system settings. In the resulting dialog click on the Computer Name tab:
Click on the Change... button:
As you can see all you need do is enter your new computer name, and press OK.
The change may not take effect until your next reboot.
In Control Panel, click on User Accounts:
Click on Change your account name:
As you can see, you can enter a new name and press Change Name to change it.
Seems simple, yet there's a catch.
When a user account is created in Windows, the login name assigned is used to create folders specifically for that user. For example on my machine I created my login account as "LeoN", and therefore I have on my machine:
As the folder which contains My Documents, my start menu, desktop and all my other account-specific information.
Even if you change your login name to something completely different, that folder name will not change. It'll still be associated with your account, and it'll all still work, but even if I change my login name to something completely different, like "Betty", my account-specific folder will still be "LeoN". (There are various reasons why this must be, but regardless of the reasons it just is.)
There may be other places where that original account login name is preserved even after a name change; the account-specific folder is just the most obvious.
The only way I know of to change this name is to create a new account with the new name, move whatever data and settings you might want to preserve from one account to the other, and then delete the old account. This tends to be very error prone as various programs that you've been running will have accumulated data in your user-specific folders that you essentially cannot move.
Of course the other option is to reinstall Windows from scratch and use the new name from the start.
Either approach is very painful and typically not worth it.
My honest recommendation is to live with it until you get a new computer someday and start with your new name on that machine.
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