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The source for this information is this week's TidBits #887.
TidBITS: TidBITS#887/09-Jul-07

TidBITS: ChangeShortName Simplifies Name Changing

ChangeShortName Simplifies Name Changing
By Adam C. Engst <[email protected]>

Unsatisfied with your identity in Mac OS X? Bothered that the person being asked to provide an administrator password isn't really you? You can always open the Accounts pane of System Preferences and change the Name field that holds your full name. But the Short Name field below it remains frustratingly immutable, even after you click the lock icon, making you think, perhaps, that Mac OS X is being unnecessarily over-protective.

This is backwards. Your full name is what you can't escape, the one inscribed on your birth certificate. But short names, whether they're chosen, assigned, or merely accidental, are more malleable. My late grandfather Orville was known to his friends as Barb, a seemingly inexplicable nickname for a powerfully built farmer who could fix electric fences without turning off the heat. It was finally explained to me that it was short for "barbarian," a reference to his football and boxing prowess at Cornell University in the 1930s.

Had Grandpa accidentally set his short name in Mac OS X to "orville" when he would have preferred "barb", the ChangeShortName utility from James Bucanek and Dan Frakes would have come in handy. It is possible to change a short name in Mac OS X with appropriate incantations at the command line and gestures in Apple's NetInfo Manager, along with edits to configuration files. But it's a tedious process involving so many steps that not even Apple's official instructions are complete. It's also prone to errors: if you mess up, you're looking at significant recovery efforts.

ChangeShortName (at) DanFrakes.com makes this process far easier and more foolproof by encapsulating all the steps necessary to change an account's short name. All you have to do is select an existing name, enter the new name, and click a button. Plus, if you've tried and failed to change a short name on your own, it can also repair some of the damage. It requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, and is free, though donations are requested. Even with ChangeShortName, changing your short name isn't the sort of thing to do lightly, so be sure to read the included documentation before using it. It's a 424K download.
 

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Ummm ...not sure what the fuss is about, I used this applet months ago, might have been in 06 even
 

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Honestly. Who cares about the short name.
 

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Honestly. Who cares about the short name.
... anyone who has several computers on a network or even just a personal tower and a laptop? When you first use the computer it asks for your name etc - and from this it makes your identity and short name - which is then otherwise very difficult to change. If you have a couple of computers, they might have the same shortname and this can become confusing on the network. Old news or not - I've never come across this utility before and it will be very handy. Thanks for the link!
 

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Thanks, HowEver!
This is exactly what I and many others need.
Not only am I dealing with used Macs and their inherited ownership identities, but friends (switchers) are now asking me how to change the names/short names on used macs they've bought, or new macs that they set-up, not really thinking of the permanence of the name they input during the exciting set-up phase of their first Mac.
It's been maddeningly complicated to get this done.
Any tips and help are more than appreciated. :clap:
 

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... anyone who has several computers on a network or even just a personal tower and a laptop?
The name of any Mac on an active network is determined by the name given to that particular Mac under 'Sharing' via System Preferences under 'Computer Name.' The house 'shortname' is irrelevant in this manner and is not used. The shortname only comes into play if you decide to connect to that particular Mac to swap files between the two. In that case, the network drive icon that will appear on your desktop will be labeled with the shortname of the user account you're connecting to to swap data with - and that's only if you're connecting directly to it's home folder (user account). If you decide to connect to the actual root of the hard drive and not the user account, then the shortname doesn't ever come into play, as the network drive icon that appears in that case will be of the name of the hard drive you're connecting to (typically 'Macintosh HD' unless it was renamed by the user). That being said, there is little real reason to change the shortname save for appearance purposes (i.e.; your shortname has a spelling mistake within it).
 

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...The shortname only comes into play if you decide to connect to that particular Mac to swap files between the two.
Much as we do with our event photography when we download images to a couple of Mac Minis with identical specs from our desktop for slideshow purposes.

Although we had the prescience to call them xxx1 and xxx2, others may not have, or has been noted, want to change an existing name on a new to them unit.

Just because you don't find it useful, Lars, doesn't mean someone else won't.

Chill.
 

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Just because you don't find it useful, Lars, doesn't mean someone else won't.
No doubt. All I'm pointing out is that you don't need to reference the shortname for network identification purposes between Macs.
 
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