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10/08/04 I want my name, not someone else's, on my computer

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 6, 2004 6:25 AM PDT
(First, a word of WARNING: This week?s answer and some recommendations suggest the task of editing your Windows registry, MAKE SURE back up your registry in case you do something wrong and also be that you are familiar with files you are planning to delete. You don't want to delete a file that is critical to your system; that can really wreak havoc in your computer. So be cautious and know what you are deleting before proceeding! Delete files and edit the Windows registry at your own risk. Thank you.)

Thank you Thomas L and all the participants in this past week?s Q&A!

Christina I hope Thomas L. fantastic winning answer, the honorable mentions, and member recommendation this week which ranges from websites recommended to registry utilities, helps you tackle your question. If you need further assistance please join us in this discussion below because the Windows registry is NOT something to simply play around with. So ask if you are unsure of something.

Members, if you have more questions, or additional advice, by all means free to post below in this thread.
The more we discuss the more we learn--it?s all up to you as a community to contribute.

Thanks again everyone!
-Lee Koo
CNET Community


When I click My Computer > System, a page comes up with some
information, including the name of whom the computer is
registered to. How can I change this name? I am giving my
computer to my daughter and want to put her name there
instead. I appreciate any help you can offer. Thank you.

Submitted by: Christina


The name to whom the computer is registered is stored in the Windows Registry. If you are not familiar with the system Registry, use EXTREME caution when making any changes here.

However if you are familiar with the Registry, you can go straight to the Registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version and "RegisteredOwner" (Windows NT/2000/XP users).


HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion and "RegisteredOwner" (Windows 9x/Me users)

Double-click RegisteredOwner in the right-hand pane and under Value data, change the name to whoever you'd like. Click OK and exit the Registry editor and you're done.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Windows Registry, here's how to perform this task:

When making changes to the Registry, ALWAYS back it up first; in case you make a mistake somewhere, you can restore the original Registry. Altering the Registry can be potentially dangerous and may cause serious problems to the Windows operating system. Even though this procedure is pretty simple and the risks are minimal, it's always best to play it safe. (Note: Steps 1 through 3 explain how to back up your Registry.)

1) Go to Start > Run, type regedit, and press ENTER or click OK.

2) A window opens up (this is the Registry); on the left are a series of file folders, and on the right are the values.

3) On the left side, right-click My Computer and choose Export. Type a name for your file and save it to a location you will remember in case you need to restore the backup. In a event that something does go wrong, to restore your Registry to the previous setting. Go to the location of the file you exported, double click the file and a message will appear and ask if you would like to add this information to the registry, click Yes and this will reload the previous Registry settings. Now, on to changing the registered name.

4) If the + (plus sign) next to My Computer is not already expanded, click it so that it shows a hyphen or minus sign. That will expand five folders with the + in front of them. **NOTE** From here on, clicking the plus sign will be denoted by an arrow or by hyphens, expanding the folders further.

5) Click the + in front of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows NT (for Windows 95/98/Me users, it is Windows without NT).

6) Then click the folder icon (not the +) for CurrentVersion.

The entire path to the KEY for Windows NT, 2000, and XP is:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

For Windows 95/98, and Me, the path to the KEY is:

7) On the right side, you will see a string named RegisteredOwner,
and your name should be beside that.

Cool Double-click RegisteredOwner (not your name), and a box will open that will allow you to enter whatever name you like in the field called Value Data.

9) Make your changes and click OK.

10) (Optional step) At this point, if you want to change the organization name value in this field, simply double-click RegisteredOrganization as you did with RegisteredOwner and change the Value Data to the name you want.

11) Make your changes, click OK, and exit out of the Registry editor.

Now you can go back to your system properties and see that the name you entered is in there correctly. (Note: Some Windows OSs may require a reboot in order for the changes to take place.) Pretty simple, really. There are other prewritten programs or scripts that make this process faster and easier, but they often come with additional bloatware and risks.

If you are not comfortable with editing your Registry or would like to read more, go to Kelly's Korner (a very well-known, trusted source, just Google "KellysKorner," and it'll take you straight there). Under Cosmetic Tweaks, she has a script called Change Registered Owner and Organization. Download and run the script (note your virus warning MAY warn you, allow it to run once), and it changes the data for you. There are also programs available such as X-Teq Set-Up, but that may be too much of a tool for the job.

Keep it better built.
Best of luck,

Submitted by: Thomas L. of Silverton, Oregon
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Honorable mentions
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 6, 2004 6:25 AM PDT
(First, a word of WARNING: This week?s answer and some recommendations suggest the task of editing your Windows registry, MAKE SURE back up your registry in case you do something wrong and also be that you are familiar with files you are planning to delete. You don't want to delete a file that is critical to your system; that can really wreak havoc in your computer. So be cautious and know what you are deleting before proceeding! Delete files and edit the Windows registry at your own risk. Thank you.)

****** HONORABLE MENTIONS**********


There is a simple solution to Christina's question regarding changing the registered owner of a Windows PC. I will caution though that it involves editing the windows registry which ought to be done by someone experienced in that task. Backing up the registry is always recomended as certain changes could prevent your computer from operating correctly.

Christina did not mention which operating system she is using so the registry key to be edited will depend on which one she has.

From any operating system you can click start, run, and in the "open" box type regedit and hit enter. This will open the windows regitry for editing. You will see folders representing the hierarchal registry information on the left. In the pane on the right are the values for the key that is currently highlighted on the left.

You will want start at HKEY_LOCAL _MACHINE. you can navigate this the same way you would with windows explorer. Click the + sign to expand the sub keys to the ones listed below.
In Windows 9x, and Me navigate to the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion . In the right pane under the name column are the values for this key. Under the data column are the string data for each of the values listed. Under the name column find the value RegisteredOwner. Double click on it. The string data editor for this vaue will open up. The string data will show the owner registered when Windows was installed. You can now change this value to the name you wish and then simply hit enter. Close out of the registry editor. You should now be able to see the new name under system properties.
For Windows NT, 2000, and XP the process is the same except the key is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion. Edit this key the same way as mentioned above to change the registered owner.
As an aside note. The registered organization value is also in this key (usually right above registered owner) and if you need to change that as well it can be done the same way in the registry editor.

Submitted by: Alvin W. of Dayville CT



Hello Christina,

So you are willing to offer your PC to your daughter, thus transferring the license to her. There are a few, but important, aspects to consider.

First, the technical aspect. It is quite easy, as you'll see below, if you take special attention. Some functional issues too, as taking care of your own data, as well as your daughter's security, assuming that she is a minor.

To proceed changing the Registration Name to your daughter's one, you'll have to edit the Registry. It is a very important database for Windows, so you should follow the steps carefully, and at your own risk.
Don't be afraid, as you'll see, it is quite easy. Anyway, it is always advisable to backup the Registry first; this important point could be discussed in another topic.

So, do the following, carefully:

1. Click Start, then Run, then type "regedit", without the quotes.
It will open a browser that you'll have to drill down to access a special key, containing the Registration Name.

2. Drill down as follows:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion
On the right pane, you'll see a "key" called "RegisteredOwner"

3. Double click it, and simply change the name. Click OK, then press Enter.

4. Exit the Registry, and reboot.

Done! The registered owner will be your daughter, as you can verify like you did for your own name.

You'll probably want to create an account for her. If the account is limited or not, it's your choice.

To do that, open the Control Panel (Start, Control Panel), and then select "User Accounts".

Choose "Create a new account", type in her name, and follow the instructions. You'll have the possibility to choose the type of account you wish. Some valuable information is displayed helping your choice.

Remember to back-up all your personal relevant data to the support that fits best to your needs, as to a CD or DVD, for instance.

As you probably installed the Office suite, you may want her name to appear on the documents created by Word, Excel. It may be useful for her. Note that these applications do not belong to Windows, so the change you've done before will not reflect there.

I suggest you find an utility called "X-Setup Pro" that does the job well.

Notice that it is a very powerful tool, so use it carefully.

The last technical aspect: the Network name of her new PC may still have your name. i.e., some people select the Network Name (Hostname) of their Windows PC as their account/real name.

To change it, do simply the following:
Right click "My Computer", then Properties, then "Computer Name". Click "Change". Type in her name. Click OK twice, then restart for the changes to take effect.

Finally, referring to the eventual moral and human aspect of your gift, please consider some points.

You may want to keep Parental Control on the Windows Media Player. You can easily find the appropriate information at Microsoft's website.

Last but not least, if the situation applies of course, you may consider to download some parental control to keep your daughter safe, like filtering harmful websites, chats, and so on.

I could suggest you NetNanny, or even better, do a search at CNET?s download site, in Windows>Internet>Parental Filters

You'll have a bunch of choice for you to feel confident.

Hope these guidelines will let your daughter enter the computing world the best possible way.

Best Regards,

Submitted by: Patrick M. of Portugal



Hi Christina,

The name you want to change is set in the windows registry. The registry is the heart of windows and has a lot of windows (and other programs) settings in it.

To change the name you must open your registry editor. Click on start and then run. In the box that appears you type "regedit.exe" (without the quotes) and then press enter.

After that the Windows Registry Editor will open. The registry is displayed as you find a harddisk with folders in the Windows Explorer. Browsing the registry works just as Windows Explorer by clicking the plus marks before the folders which are called keys in the registry.

Before you start editing, I want to warn you. Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. To keep it safe you could try a tweaking tool, such as FresUI by FreshDevices or TuneUp Utilities 2004 by TuneUp Software, with whitch you can make the changes safely without risking editing the wrong values.

Depending on your operating system, you go to the following key.
Windows 95, 98 and Me:

Windows NT, 2000 and XP:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

When you have found that key, you click on it and in the right side of the editor you will see a number of values. These values can be edited by double- clicking them.

To change the name you must edit the 'RegisteredOwner' value and for the companyname that is below the name, you must edit the 'RegisteredOrganization'
After changing the text in the box that appears on double-click you click 'OK'
in that box.

When you've edited the values you wanted, close the registry and you will find the new name and companyname on the system page.
A reboot could be needed for operating system other than Windows XP.

Submitted by: Jan-Willem S. of, Huizen - Noord-Holland, The Netherlands



You didn't mention what operating system you are running on that computer, so I'll assume that it's a Windows machine. If it is a 'Windows NT' type machine (like Windows 2000 Pro or Windows XP Pro) then you will need to be logged in with Administrator priviledges to make the following modifications.

Finally, this solution requires modification of the registry of your system. As long as you follow the steps exactly as outlined then you shouldn't have a problem, but be forewarned that modifying the registry incorrectly could potentially lead to system failures. (To be on the safe side, you should actually make a backup of your registry first, but I will assume that you've either done so already, or are going to be very careful to follow the steps accurately)

For all modern Windows O/S's

1. First make note of the serial number of your O/S on the same screen where you found the Registered To info. (It's located just below the Registered To name). Highlight this entire number with your mouse (dashes included) and then Right-Click>Copy to copy it to the Windows Clipboard.
2. Select the START button
3. Click on RUN
4. Type regedit in the text box and hit OK.
5. A Registry Editor window will open up. Scroll to the top of the column in the left hand side and click on My Computer at the top. (This ensures that you're searching from the Top of the list)
6. Then click on EDIT in the menu bar, and select FIND.
7. In the FIND window that pops up, delete anything in the 'Find What' textbox and then Right-Click on it and Paste the serial number into the textbox.
8. Click on the Find Next button.
9. Depending on how fast your computer is, it should eventually find a registry entry (or KeyValue) on the right hand side of the Registry Editor window called ProductID that contains that serial number as a Data value, you should also see a bunch of other entries, one of which is named RegisteredOwner with your name as a Data value. If you do not see your name in this registry Key, then simply push the F3 function button on your keyboard to continue searching for the serial number until you do come to a Key that contains RegisteredOwner.
10. Simply Right mouse click directly on top of the words RegisteredOwner, and select Modify.
11. Type in the desired value data that you want (Your Daughter's name) and click OK.
12. You can close the Registry Editor at this point by clicking the 'X' in the top right of the window.
13. If you now view the My Computer>System, you should now see your Daughter's name as the new Registered Owner.

Submitted by: Mike S. of Brampton, Ontario. Canada




This question has a very quick and easy solution, but it does require working with the registry. You should now click Start > Run > then type "regedit" without the quotes, although this is a relatively safe change to the registry it is good to backup the entire registry or at least the keys you are going to change I will tell you how to do that after you
find the correct key. If you are not familiar with the registry the
best way to find the key you are looking for is to do a search. Within Regedit click Edit > Find, then type "RegisteredOwner" without the quotes. If the computer is running WindowsXP it should then find the key at location: My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows
NT\CurrentVersion, if the machine is running Windows98 it should find it at location: My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion.
It should have highlighted a key called RegisteredOwner, this is the key you want to change, now is the time to make a backup copy of this key.
With the key highlighted click File on the menu bar, then click export.
This will bring up a dialog box asking where you would like to save the key, select a location that you can remember just in case to need restore the settings. Now comes the easy part just double click the key called RegisteredOwner and change the value to whatever you want, you
will need to re-open the system tab to see the changed name. Also as a
side note, you will notice the RegisteredOrganization key right above the RegisteredOwner key this can be changed in the same way as detailed above if need be. That should be all that needs to be changed in order to change the owners name of the computer.

If something was to not work correctly because of the name change you can easily restore the previous setting. This is done by going to the location of the file you exported then locate the file, then double clicking the file. It will then ask if you would like to add this information to the registry, click yes and you are now back to the name you began with.

I hope this helps fix your problem.

Submitted by: Brian S.
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Site and utility recommendations by our members
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 6, 2004 6:26 AM PDT
(First, a word of WARNING: This week?s answer and some recommendations suggest the task of editing your Windows registry, MAKE SURE back up your registry in case you do something wrong and also be that you are familiar with files you are planning to delete. You don't want to delete a file that is critical to your system; that can really wreak havoc in your computer. So be cautious and know what you are deleting before proceeding! Delete files and edit the Windows registry at your own risk. Thank you.)


You can do a Google search with this string:
change the registered owners name

You will get 100,000+ hits
Try these links:

Good Luck

Submitted by: ChrisS



To Christina;

Although a computer will work just fine without changing any of the registration details, here?s how you would go about doing it.

You?ll need a registry editing program such as Windows RegEdit or you can download programs such as Registrar Lite,, or Lavasoft?s RegHance, Personally I use Registrar Lite, but it?s your choice?

To open RegEdit goto Start  Run  then type in ?regedit? then navigate to the key by clicking on the various folders displayed in the tree view on the left:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\

Edit the values under ?RegisteredOwner? and ?RegisteredOrganization? to reflect your daughter?s personal information.

Using either Registrar Lite or RegHance, first install them, then launch them by going into your StartPrograms menu and finding that program.

With both programs click on the ?Key? or ?Address? text box and copy the above key, paste it in the text box, and hit enter. Then edit the said values above.

To edit values in all three of the programs, simply double click on the value you wish to edit.

Please note that editing your registry is dangerous if done improperly as it may cause serious system problems, the above keys are safe to edit as they will cause no problems in your system, but I hold no guarantee that changing them will not cause problems with other programs.

Submitted by: Matthew W.



Windows 98:

Windows NT/2000/XP:

Submitted by: John V.



The easiest way I know of to change the computer name is to use a tweaking tool. One of the best out there is a tool called Fresh UI (User Interface), the tool can be downloaded from th following site;

Once the tool is downloaded, install it, it is a self installer type of application.

Once installed do the following;

"Windows System" ---> "Other" (click on the plus sign (+) to expand it) ---> "Owner/Company Information". In the right hand pane you find "Registered Name:", double click on that. Remove any name that is there and type in whatever name that is desired. While you are at it you might want to remove the company name if it is there.

The reason you would want to do the change through a program, tweaking or otherwise, is because the only other alternative is to do it through regedit and unless one is familiar with the system registry you do not want to go there.

Hope this helps.

Submitted by: Rick B.




This solution requires you to have WinZip or other ZIP clone program installed, as well as an Internet connection.

1) Connect to the Internet and point your browser to:

2) A dialog box will pop up, asking what to do with the downloaded file.
Click "Open".

3) The file will download and open in WinZip. You will see a folder witth three files. First of them will be named "ChangeRegisteredOwner_Org.exe".
Double-click on it.

4) You will be presented with a window with information to whom your Windows copy is registered. Enter new information and press "Change".


This solution does not require you to have any program installed on your computer, but is more complicated.

1) Open the Start menu and choose "Run".

2) Enter "regedit.exe" and press "OK".

3) You will see a window with hierarchical list of options you can change in our computer. Pressing a plus sign near the folder name will reveal its contents, just like in Windows Explorer. Find and open the following

- "Microsoft"
- "Windows" (if you have Windows 95, 98 or Me) or "Windows NT" (if you have Windows NT, 2000, XP or 2003)

4) Click on the folder named "CurrentVersion".

5) In the right pane of the window, find an entry called "RegisteredOwner"
and double-click its name.

6) Enter the name of your coumpter's new owner and press "OK".

7) If you need to change the organization name as well, do the same with the "RegisteredOrganization" entry.

Submitted by: Michal P.



Hi Christina;

There are many excellent tools that can help you change the My Computer/System information. My favorite is X-Setup Pro because it's free, simple to use, backs up the changes, and does it's own updates. Go to and follow the installation instructions. (you'll need to unzip the downloaded
file) Open the app, go to System and then Windows User Data. Make the changes and press F9 to confirm. That should do it; you may need to reboot to see the new info.

Of course you could do this with a registry editor but X-Setup (for me) is much easier and safer.

Good Luck...

Submitted by: Fletch L.



the app, tweakXP will let you rename it and also insert a picture of the child in the system display window if you wish

Submitted by: Scotty C.



To change Registered Name and/or Company in System Properties, you can download a free utility program from and usie it to make desired changes. (If you have vb6 runtime installed, it also works on Windows 2000.)


Submitted by: Johnnie H. of Mountain Home, TX. USA



Download the save freeware software * Xteq Systems X-Setup * (check f.i.
Google for correct URL address). Start tweak UI /go to System (the last line) sub User and you can change evreything you wish to make your daughter happy.
There are enough systems to change what you asked for , but mostly you have to make changes in the register which could be dangerous if you are not skilled enough. Besides above program has many more nice and easy tweaks with rather easy interface.
Good Luck.


Submitted by: Ernst E. of The Netherlands



Try a third party Program called X-Setup From Xteq systems.

This program allows you to customize Windows to your will using either a GUI Wizard or using a shell type interface with which you can tweak Windows for better performance, Security, and every other aspect, which could take a novice hours using the dreaded regedit command.

Submitted by: Ron M.



You can use the Tweak Manager program to easily make the change you need. You can download a free trial version of the WinGuides Tweak Manager from
Then when you run Tweak Manager, on the left hand side column, locate the "Windows" item and expand it by clicking on the "+" sign. (Note: if already expanded, you would see a "-" sign.) Below the "Troubleshooting" item you should see the item "Change the Registered Owner and Organization".
Select that item (Note: you could also locate this item using "Search"; just search for the keyword "owner" in a title). Change to desired values and click on the "Apply Changes" button found on the bottom of the right hand column in TweakManager window.

Alternatively, you can change the registry.
However, here is an important disclaimer:
Modifying the registry can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. We cannot guarantee that problems resulting from modifications to the registry can be solved. Use the information provided at your own risk.

Open your registry and find the key below for your operating system.
Windows 95, 98 and Me:

Windows NT, 2000 and XP:

Modify the strings values of 'RegisteredOwner'
and 'RegisteredOrganization' to equal the required owner and company names.

Hope this helps.

Submitted by: Ali B.
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Re: Site and utility recommendations by our members
by DanB_JT / October 12, 2004 4:59 AM PDT
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Re: 10/08/04 I want my name, not someone else's, on my compu
by Scholten / October 7, 2004 7:31 PM PDT

Who! that is the long way, (the short way is rightmouseclick thiscomputer on the desktop properties, then tab computername then change the name) thats all

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Re: 10/08/04 I want my name, not someone else's, on my compu
by ZheepmeiZter / October 7, 2004 9:29 PM PDT

This is not to make you feel bad or anything, but when you do that, you wont change the name that Christina wants to change. The name she wants to change is the one diplayed on the first tab you see along with the rest of manufacturer and os names/versions. To see how to change that, check out the winning answer:
and/or the honorable mentions:
The name that you would change is what the computers name on the network is.



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Re: 10/08/04 I want my name, not someone else's, on my compu
by imaxcafe / October 7, 2004 8:07 PM PDT

I had to do this before. When i bought a used computer. The way i did it was. I did a format on my hard drive. I had a Windows OS disk. And i entered my name in the registered to section. So if you have a Windows OS disk. I suggest doing it my way. Happy Good Luck which ever way you choose. Happy

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Re: 10/08/04 I want my name, not someone else's, on my compu
by djefffs / October 7, 2004 8:55 PM PDT

there is a program that will do this i will sort it out and post on site

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Re: 10/08/04 I want my name, not someone else's, on my compu
by Retired G / October 7, 2004 9:26 PM PDT

Thomas L,
Thank you for the post. I purchased my laptop from Best Buy. It had been one that was on display. It has worked perfectly, but it bothered me that Best Buy kept coming up as the owner. Now it doesn't thanks to your post.

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Re: 10/08/04 I want my name, not someone else's, on my compu

Does this change in anyway affect the live updates from Microsoft or anti-virus suppliers?

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Re: 10/08/04 I want my identification, not someone else's
by billyrferrell / October 8, 2004 12:08 AM PDT

Start> Settings> Control Panel> Network> identification> Computer Name>NAME IT YOUR NAME> Workgroup>NAME IT YOUR WORKGROUP>Push OK>Restart Computer YES> NOW YOUR COMPUTER IS RENAME.
AS FOR THE REGISTRY [The SoftWare]it's not your to rename, if you did not pay for it. Do Not play with it, or you will be Paying for it!

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Re: 10/08/04 I want my identification, not someone else's
by KatBon / October 10, 2004 1:52 PM PDT

Sorry but you've got that wrong. All you are doing with those changes is renaming the Network name of the computer.

Also this person has paid for the OS, it's hers to rename if she chooses.

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Re: 10/08/04 I want my name, not someone else's, on my compu
by Ken Curtis / October 8, 2004 6:17 AM PDT

Very well written help page. It went well and I was able to change my "name" to what I wanted. Thank You!

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Re: 10/08/04 I want my name, not someone else's, on my compu
by dcfigart / October 9, 2004 4:12 AM PDT

No one mention the fact that Microsoft make a very nice program for doing just this. Sysprep. This program is used all the time by computer manufactures so they can clone Windows to multiple hard drives. When you run Sysprep on a Windows system, It removes all user information, the serial number, the registered owner, and shuts down the system. When rebooted the system comes up in a mini setup program were you will need to reenter this information. Make sure you have your CD key before running Sysprep. You can find Sysprep using Google. Just search for Sysprep.

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Re: 10/08/04 I want my name, not someone else's, on my compu
by tremont / October 9, 2004 7:19 AM PDT

To the person who once teamed my name to some one else the easiest way I know to do this is to download a free program((( RegisscrubXP))))REGScrubXP by using this program which he can download free or just do research on Net for the software, when she managed that to change the name in regsrrub in Misc there are some tweaks and one of them will change the name in the registered.

PS I don't know what system you have with this works with XP and it's easy,,, great great little piece of software

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Re: 10/08/04 I want my name, not someone else's, on my compu
by ken1129 / October 12, 2004 12:48 AM PDT

If you don't know the location of the name you can always do a search for it by clicking on EDIT then FIND. That way you can also change the applications that include the name.

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