Don’t want or use Fast User Switching in Windows? This article shows how to disable Fast User Switching in Windows in simple steps.
If you have multiple user accounts, you can switch between them with relative use. In fact, there are multiple ways to switch users in Windows. One of the best things is that Windows uses something called Fast User Switching when switching users.
With Fast User Switching, you can switch to another user account without logging out of the current account.
As useful as it is, it might not be helpful in all situations. One of the main reasons is that the Fast User Switching feature, by design, keeps the previous user account running in the background. That means the previous user’s open programs, documents, and files are still running in the background and consuming valuable system resources such as memory and processing power.
Additionally, the user account running in the background might prevent you from making system-wide changes or shutting down the computer. This is especially true in work environments where having multiple accounts is common.
To avoid all this, you can disable Fast User Switching in Windows. Here’s how.
Table of contents:
- What is Fast User Switching?
- What are the drawbacks of Fast User Switching?
- How to disable Fast User Switching from Group Policy
- How to disable Fast User Switching from Registry
What is Fast User Switching?
Fast user switching is a built-in Windows feature that allows users to switch between accounts without closing the programs and documents that are open in the other accounts.
Fast user switching can be convenient for situations where multiple people need to use the same computer without worrying about closing and opening programs and files every time they switch user accounts.
However, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks, as mentioned in the next section.
What are the drawbacks of Fast User Switching?
As with any feature, the Fast User Switching also has a few potential drawbacks that you should consider. If the cons outweigh the pros, it is best to disable Fast User Switching.
- Resource usage: Each active user account consumes system resources, such as memory and processing power. If you have multiple users switching frequently, it can strain the system and lead to slower performance.
- Compatibility issues: Some programs may not work properly when used with Fast User Switching. For example, a program running in the background for one user may not be visible or accessible to another user.
- Limited control: When using Fast User Switching, the previous user’s account is not logged off, so the new user does not have complete control over the computer. They might not be able to install or remove programs or make changes at the system level.
Overall, analyze the potential advantages and disadvantages based on your needs and circumstances and decide whether or not to disable Fast User Switching.
The steps below work the same in Windows 10 and 11.
How to disable Fast User Switching from Group Policy
Windows Pro edition users can use the “Hide entry points for Fast User Switching” group policy to turn off Fast User Switching in Windows.
Here’s how to disable Fast User Switching using Group Policy:
- Press the “Start” key.
- Search and open “Edit Group Policy.”
- Go to the “Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates” folder.
- Go to the “System -> Logon” folder.
- Open the “Hide entry points for Fast User Switching” policy.
- Select “Enabled.”
- Press the “Ok” button.
- Close the Group Policy Editor.
- Reboot Windows.
- With that, Fast User Switching is disabled.
Steps with more details:
First, open the Group Policy Editor. You can either search for “Edit Group Policy” in the Start menu or run the “gpedit.msc” Run command.
After launching the Group Policy Editor, go to the following folder. As the folder name implies, this is where all the Logon policies are located.
Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/System/Logon
Find the “Hide entry points for Fast User Switching” policy in the Logon folder and open it. You can double-click the policy to open it.
Select the “Enabled” radio option in the policy settings window and press the “Ok” button to save the policy settings.
After saving the changes, close the Group Policy Editor and reboot Windows. If you don’t want to reboot, open an elevated Command Prompt window and execute the
gpupdate /force command. This command forcefully applies the policy changes.
Once the policy is applied, the Fast User Switching option is fully disabled. From now on, you have to log out to log into another user account.
If you want to revert the changes, select “Not configured” in the policy settings window, save the changes, and reboot the computer.
How to disable Fast User Switching from Registry
You can use the “HideFastSwitching” value to control Window’s Fast User Switching feature. This method is particularly helpful for Windows Home users. Let me show you how.
Back up the registry before making changes. The backup helps in restoring the registry if something goes wrong.
Here’s how to disable Fast User Switching using the Registry Editor.
- Open the Registry Editor.
- Go to the below folder.
- Right-click the “System” folder.
- Select “New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value.”
- Use “HideFastSwitching” as the value name.
- Right-click the newly created value.
- Select the “Modify” option.
- Type “1” in the available field.
- Press “Ok.”
- Close the Registry Editor.
- Reboot Windows.
- With that, the Fast User Switching is disabled.
Steps with more details:
Since we want to modify the Registry, open it. You can search for “Registry Editor” in the Start menu and click on the result to open it.
After opening it, go to the below folder. You can either go through the folder tree on the sidebar or paste the below path in the registry editor’s address bar and press Enter. It will instantly take you to the target folder.
Once you are here, right-click on the “System” folder and select the “New → DWORD (32-bit) Value” option. Use “HideFastSwitching” as the value name.
After creating the value, double-click on it. You can also right-click the value and select “Modify.” This will open the “Edit Value” window. Type “1” in the Value Data field and click “Ok.”
After modifying the value, close the Registry Editor and reboot Windows. Rebooting ensures registry changes are applied.
From now on, Fast User Switching is disabled, and you will no longer see the Fast User Switching option either in the start menu, task manager or on the lock screen.
To enable the Fast User Switching feature, either delete the “HideFastSwitching” value or change its Value Data to “0” and reboot the system.
That is all. It is that simple to disable Fast User Switching in Windows.
I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.
If you are stuck or need help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.