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I have accidentally typed my name wrong when I created the administrator account. Although I managed to change the user name at the login screen, I am unable to rename the /home/oldusername to /home/newusername. I tried most of the online tutorials, and it failed.

The code I tried was this:

usermod -l newusername -m -d /home/newusername oldusername

But the output is:

cannot lock /etc/passwd; try again later.

How can I fix the issue and change the folder to newusername and expect all the applications to work as before?

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Are you running that command as root? – Seth Dec 13 '12 at 17:07
no in a guest account..the name i'm trying to change is the root account i guess. – Fazlan Dec 13 '12 at 17:15
is root and administrator different? I dnt knw – Fazlan Dec 13 '12 at 17:15
hey I don't understand have u access to admin/root account?? – geoh Dec 13 '12 at 17:18
You cannot use the guest account to do any administrative tasks. – user68186 Dec 13 '12 at 18:10

Login with your currentusername, open a terminal and type:

sudo passwd root

Enter a password for the root account, then logout, press Ctrl+Alt+F1 to open a text console, login as root (username: root, password: "the one you typed above") and run:

usermod -l newusername -m -d /home/newusername currentusername

Press Ctrl+Alt+F7 to return to graphic console and login as newusername.

To change the user's display name (the one that appears at the login screen), go to System Settings -> User Accounts then click the display name on the right-hand side of the dialog.

enter image description here

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it says user oldname is currently logged in – Fazlan Dec 13 '12 at 17:54
Answer updated. – Eric Carvalho Dec 13 '12 at 19:58
I followed your instructions and indeed the user name was changed. If I look with Nautilus at Computer -> Home I see only the new user name. What is still strange is when I boot from a shutdown, the original user name still comes up at the login stage. Where is the original name still stored? – Ilan Nov 8 '15 at 8:18
@Ilan answer updated. – Eric Carvalho Nov 8 '15 at 20:46

The first simple solution that you can do is to create a new user with the right username that you want and add it to the administrator group: /etc/sudoers

other way, you can do that with your old username (I tested it on fedora):

# usermod -l new-username old-unername
share|improve this answer
You may need to add sudo before that line like sudo usermod -l new-username old-unername, in Ubuntu. – user68186 Dec 13 '12 at 18:13
The username is changed but the folder name is still the old name – Fazlan Dec 22 '12 at 15:11
#: means you have the root permissions, and $: means you're just a simple user. – Boubakr NOUR Aug 27 '13 at 15:35

I would create a new account, and copy all of your files across. This is probably the most idiot-proof method.

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You need to do this from recovery mode.

Reboot, choose recovery mode, and then drop to a root console and type the command there. Then reboot again as normal.

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