I received a question from subscriber Joseph Baker who was having problems with his Windows computer. For some reason, his “Switch User” button wasn’t working.
Seems like the only time I contact you is when I have a problem, so I apologize in advance. I might have even asked this question in the past…not sure. It’s probably simple for you and I hope you have a quick response. My wife wanted to use the computer tonight and when she went to “switch user” from me to her it would not respond in any way. I think there is a setting somewhere to resolve this but could not find any notes I have taken regarding this. Can you help? I hope so…and thanks for your help.
The Switch User function (Start Logoff) is a powerful feature of Windows XP that allows multiple different IDs to use the computer– which would allow his wife to switch the active user from him to her without logging him off
Unfortunately, while I could think of a couple possible reasons for his problem, I didn’t have anything definitive:
- Windows may have been hung — it happens <grin>
- Swapping users takes a lot of memory if you had a number of programs open. Sometimes, when Windows is swapping real memory to the hard drive(called “pagiing” to “virtual memory”) and vice versa, Windows will seem hung but isn’t really,
- The program in your user session may have crashed — and needed a Control-Alt-Delete to pull up task manager to close it
Undoubtedly there are other possibiliites. If the problem happens again or routinely, look into it. If it was just this once, blame it on the phase of the moon or Bill Gates’ Revenge.
After receiving my response, Joseph wrote back with more information — he’d been experimenting…
Thanks for your quick reply. The only other thing I can think of is that recently I disabled a number of services based on someones recommendation and so perhaps one of the services I disabled has blocked my PC from switching users.
I’ll have to try to find that list and look into it.
This did happen once before and I asked this same question and the person responding had me check on some setting (could have been in services) and once I changed that item the switch user worked ok.
If you think of something let me know, otherwise, thanks for your help.
You are very generous with your knowledge.
And, that told the whole story…
"Fast User Switching" is one of the optional Windows XP Services that can be turned off. But, if you want to use the Switch User function, you have to have Fast User Switching running — it’s the service that makes Switch Users work!
The starting options for Fast User Switching are Automatic, Manual and Disabled. On my computers, I have it set to “Manual.”
Terry’s Tech Tip:
In this case, Manual doesn’t mean what you or I would normally think that it meant. Automatic means that the service starts when Windows starts. Manual means that the service starts automatically if any other program or service requests it. Disabled means that it’s not going to run, period.
You can access the controls via the Start button, then Run, services.msc (and press Enter).
The other possibility is that Joseph may have turned off one of the other Services on which Fast User Switching depends in order to be able to run.
If you click on the Dependencies tab, you can see a list of the other XP Services that are required for this service to run. You will also see a list of the other Services that "depend" on this service running.
In this case, by clicking the "+" buttons, we can see that Fast User Switching requires the Terminal Services service, which, in turn, requires the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service in order to run.
Joseph (and other subscribers and readers!), if you appreciate my free newsletters and free web site and the help I give, you can thank me in 2 ways:
- recommend my site and newsletter to your friends, and
- if you want to buy from any vendor under my Shopping tab, please use my link (I’ll make a referral commission — but, if you want web hosting, use one of my links and I’ll make a “bigger” commission).