Logging Off Switching Users or Locking Your Computer

When you're finished using your computer, you want to be sure that you don't leave it in a condition in which others can use your credentials to access your files . To do that, you need to log off, switch users, or lock your computer:

• Log Off With this option, all your programs close and dial-up connections are ended. To log off, click the arrow in the lower right corner of the Start menu and click Log Off. (See Figure 16-8.)

• Switch User With this option (sometimes called Fast User Switching), your programs continue to run . Your account is still logged on, but (if it's protected by a password) only you can return to your session . To switch users, click the arrow in the lower right corner of the Start menu and click Switch User. This takes you to the Welcome screen, where you can click the name of the account you want to switch to .

Fast User Switching, a feature that made its first appearance in Windows XP, allows multiple users to be logged on to a computer at the same time . As the feature name suggests, you can quickly switch among users . This might be convenient, for example, if one user logs on, opens several documents, and begins downloading a huge file from the internet. Meanwhile, another user comes along and wants to quickly check e-mail. No problem: the second user can log on, log off, and return control to the first user. While the second user is logged on, the first user's applications (such as the download process) continue to run .

• Lock With this option, your programs continue to run, but the logon screen appears so that no one can see your desktop or use the computer. Only you can unlock the computer to return to your session; however, other users can log on in their own sessions without disturbing yours. To lock a computer, click the arrow in the lower right corner of the Start menu and click Lock.

Figure 16-8 To change the default action of the power button to something other than Shut Down, right-click the Start menu, choose Properties, and select a Power Button Action option.

In any case, if you want to prevent others from using your account, you must protect your account with a password. When you choose any of these options, Windows hides whatever you were working on . Your computer continues to run (subject to power management settings), and any resources shared by your computer remain available to other users on the network

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