When dealing with multiple user accounts, the Fast User Switching feature makes switching between user accounts easy. In fact, you can also create a switch user desktop shortcut for ease of access. When facing problems with this feature, you can disable fast user switching on Windows.
As the name suggests, fast user switching makes it fast to switch between user accounts. To make this happen, Windows keeps the current user account signed in while giving you access to another user account. The signed in user account prevents you from shutting down the system because of data loss concerns. The background user account is still using some amount of system resources thanks to the running background programs and services.
If your system is powerful enough, this may not be a problem. However, often the fast user switching can cause system slowdown issues. This is especially true if you are switching between multiple user accounts.
Group Policy Steps to Disable Fast User Switching
Like many things in Windows, we can use the group policy editor to disable fast user switching. Though the steps are easy, you can back up group policy, if you want to. Group policy editor is only available for Pro and Enterprise users. If you are on Windows Home edition, follow the second method. i.e. registry editor method.
1. Use the run command
gpedit.msc to open the group policy editor. You can also search for it in the start menu.
2. In the group policy editor, you will see a bunch of folders on the left panel. Expand the folder tree and go to the below folder.
Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System -> Logon
3. On the right panel, you will see the policies related to Windows Logon. Here, find and double-click on the Hide entry points for Fast User Switching policy.
4. As soon as you double-click on the policy, the policy properties window will open. Here, select the Enabled option. To save changes, click on the Apply and Ok buttons.
5. Finally, reboot Windows to apply changes.
That is all. From this point forward, you can no longer fast user switch. Whenever you switch to another user account, the current account is signed out. This ensures there are no background processes or services related to the other user account.
If you want to enable fast user switching, select Not Configured option in step 5.
Disable Fast User Switching via Registry Editor
Windows Home edition has no group policy editor. As such, you need to edit the registry to disable fast user switching. Though the procedure is easy and straightforward, back up the registry before proceeding.
1. Use the run command
regedit to open the registry editor. You can also search for the same in the start menu.
2. In the registry editor, copy the below path, paste it in the address bar and press Enter. You will be taken to the target folder. If you are on Windows 7 or 8, manually expand the folders.
3. Right click on the right panel and select New -> DWORD (32-bit) Value.
4. Name the new DWORD value as HideFastSwitching.
5. Double-click on the value you just created, enter 1 in the value data field and click on the Ok button.
6. Finally, close the registry editor and reboot Windows.
That is it. You are done. Fast user switching is fully disabled. If you want to enable fast user switching, change the value data back to 0 in step 5.