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Set up a local account if you want a custom user folder name

Windows administrators and users who set up new accounts on devices running the Windows 10 operating system have two main choices when it comes to that: they may set up a user account using a Microsoft Account, or set up a local account.

Microsoft pushes Microsoft Account user accounts and prioritizes them during account creation. Both account types differ significantly.

Microsoft Accounts may be used across devices, enable syncing of date such as passwords or themes, resetting of the password, and may be used for other Microsoft services. Microsoft Accounts support two-step verification, security keys, and you may link Windows 10 licenses to accounts.

Downside for some is that Microsoft Accounts provide Microsoft with additional data; that is no the case for local account. Microsoft Accounts may also be attacked online even if the PC is not online at the time.

Windows User Folder name depends on Account type

windows 10 user folder name

The choice between a Microsoft Account and a local account affects the name of the user folder as well. Microsoft Account user folders are limited to five characters; Windows 10 picks the first five characters of the Microsoft Account email address and makes it the name of the user folder.

If you asked yourself in the past why your user folder appeared cut off, that is the likely explanation. The user folder on a Windows 10 Fast Ring test system has the name marti, and I always asked myself why it had that name and not the correct name martin which another of my PCs uses.

microsoft account user folder five chars

The difference was that I used a Microsoft Account on the Insider Build PC, and a local account on the other PC.

In other words: if you want a custom name for the user folder, you need to create a local account on the device (first) to do so; this makes no different for users who use a five character email address but anyone else may prefer a properly named user folder.

If you select local account, you are free to pick the name for the account; that name is automatically the name of the user folder on the device for that user.

You can switch to a Microsoft Account after the local user account creation if you prefer to use one; doing so won’t change the name of the user folder.  (thanks Deskmodder)

Now You: local account or Microsoft Account, which do you prefer?

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