How To Use the Fast User Switching Feature in Windows XP
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This article was previously published under Q279765
In Microsoft Windows XP, if you enable the Fast User Switching feature, multiple user accounts can log on to a computer simultaneously. This article describes how to enable and use this feature. With Fast User Switching, users can switch sessions without closing Windows, programs, and so forth. For example, User A is logged on and is browsing the Internet, User B wants to log on to their user account and check their e-mail account. User A can leave their programs running while User B logs on and checks their e-mail account. User A can then return to their session where their programs would still be running.
Fast User Switching is enabled by default in Windows XP Home Edition and Professional on computers with more than 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM. However, Fast User Switching is not available on Windows XP Professional-based computers that are part of a domain network.
Enable or Disable Fast User SwitchingNote: To enable Fast User Switching, you must also enable the Use the Welcome screen option. This feature cannot be used if your computer is a member of a domain. To enable Fast User Switching:
Switch Users From the Task ManagerWhen a user initiates the Switch User option, the computer returns to the Welcome screen. The current user's session remains active and another user can now log on and use the computer. You can initiate the Switch User command in any of the following ways:
Switch Users From the Standard Logon Screen
Manage Other User SessionsWith administrative privileges you can log other users off from the computer, which frees up system resources, and you can send them a message from your session. To do this:
TroubleshootingFast User Switching cannot be used when Offline Files are enabled. When you attempt to enable Fast User Switching, you may receive the following error message when you click Change the way users log on or off:
To resolve this issue, disable Offline Files:
Fast User Switching cannot be used because Offline Files is currently enabled.
To make changes to Offline Files, click OK.
Other users can turn off the computer while programs remain open. When you switch users, another user can turn off the computer. If a logged on user has programs running, they will be closed when the computer is shut down, and this may result in data loss. To prevent this, save your work before you switch users.
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