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Fast User Switching is a useful feature in Windows that allows you to quickly switch between different accounts on your machine. If it's not used properly, though, it can lead to problems as your computer becomes slow due to the amount of programs that are running at the same time. With this said, many people feel its better to disable Fast User Switching altogether and require people to log off of their accounts before another person can log in. This way only the programs currently being used by the logged in user are running and will have more resources available to them.
This tutorial will explain how to disable Fast User Switching in Windows. As the settings are different in Windows XP than they are in future version, we have broken this tutorial up into two different sections.
To disable Fast User Switching in Windows XP, you first need to enter your Control Panel. To do this, click on the Start Button and then select the Control Panel menu option. When the Control Panel opens, you should double-click on the User Accounts icon. This will open up the User Accounts settings screen as shown in the image below.
You should now click on the Change the way users log on or off option. This will bring you to another screen that is similar to the one below.
To disable Fast User Switching, uncheck the checkbox labeled Use Fast User Switch and then click on the Apply Options button. To enable Fast User Switching again, you can repeat these steps but this time put a checkbox in that setting.
If you are using Windows Premium or Starter, then you need to click here to see the instructions on how to disable Fast User Switching.
If you are using Windows Pro or Ultimate then you can disable Fast User Switching through the Group Policy Editor. To access the Group Policy Editor in Windows Vista and Windows 7, click on the Start button and type in Group Policy. You should then see an option called Edit Group Policy. In Windows 8, you should type Group Policy in the Start Screen and then click on the Settings category. The option for Edit Group Policy should now appear.
Click on the Edit Group Policy option and the Group Policy editor will open. Under the Local Computer Policy, expand the tree to the following path:
Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Logon
When you see Logon, left click on it to select it as shown in the image below.
In the right-hand pane you should now see a variety of settings. Double-click on the Hide entry points for Fast User Switching setting and its properties screen will open.
Select the Enabled radio button and then click on the Apply button. Finally click on the OK button and close the Group Policy Editor. Fast User Switching should now be disabled. If you want to enable this feature in the future, just go back to the same setting and change it to Not Configured.
If you are using Windows Starter Edition or Windows Premium, then you will not have access to the Group Policy Editor. Instead you will need to enable the setting through the Windows Registry. This setting can be enabled by creating the HideFastUserSwitching REG_DWORD value under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System Registry key and setting it to 1.
If you do not feel comfortable editing the Registry, you can download this Registry file that will make the changes for you:
Just download the above Registry file and double-click on it. When it asks if you wish to merge the data, click on the Yes button.
If you want to enable it again in the future you can download and run this Registry file:
If you do not want users on a computer to be able to have the Lock option when they enter the Ctrl+Alt+Delete keyboard combination, you can disable it via a policy in the Group Policy Editor or via a Registry key.
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