Microsoft Windows 8 Release Preview – Switching User Accounts

In all post Windows 2000 operating systems, Microsoft has integrated a new feature using which users can switch between user accounts without logging off from currently logged on accounts. Switching user accounts is only helpful when multiple accounts are created on a single computer and every user has its own account credentials to log on.

For example, if user ‘A’ is logged-on on any post-Windows 2000 operating system, such as Microsoft Windows 8 Release Preview, and is working on some files, and at the same time user ‘B’ shows up and requests user ‘A’ to hand him over the system for a few minutes. User ‘A’, in this case, doesn’t have to close his files and neither he has to log off from his account before he hands over the system to user ‘B’. Instead, user ‘A’ can switch the account to user ‘B’ so that ‘B’ can use the system. This method saves a decent amount of time for both the users as no user has to log off from the logged-on account to let the other user to access the system.

Security Issues While Switching User Accounts

Although Microsoft Windows 8 Release Preview prompts users to save their unsaved data before the computer shuts itself down, if two user accounts are logged on to the operating system simultaneously (in case of switching user accounts), and if any user forces the computer to shut down, unsaved data of the other user account might be lost. Assuming that most users use Microsoft Office package to prepare data, reports and other documents, if switching user accounts feature is frequently used, it is recommended that they must configure the applications to ‘autosave’ the documents after every one or two minutes.

Legacy Process of Switching User Accounts versus Current Process

In Microsoft Windows XP, if users wanted to switch their accounts to some other user, they needed to go to the ‘Shutdown’ button and then they needed to select the appropriate option to switch to the other account. On the other hand, in post-Windows XP operating systems, especially in Microsoft Windows 8 Release Preview, things are simplified and in order to switch to the other user account, the currently logged on user just needs to click on the name of the other user account in order to switch to that user. Once done, the Windows prompts for the password for the other user account before it allows the user to log on.

Switching User Account in Microsoft Windows 8 Release Preview

Logged on user must follow the steps given below in order to switch to another user account in Microsoft Windows 8 Release Preview operating system:

  1. Assuming that the currently logged on user is on the desktop screen, hover mouse to the Aero Peek button at the bottom right corner of the screen, and from the displayed options click Start.
  2. On the Metro User Interface of the Start window, click to select the name of the currently logged on user account from the top right corner of the window.
  3. Once clicked, from the displayed menu click the name of the other user to switch to that account without logging off.
  4. On the next window that appears, provide the password for the selected user account to log on.
Author: Vivek Nayyar

Works as Systems Admin in Siskin Technologies, India. Corporate trainer on Microsoft and Cisco platform. Specialized in Virtualization Technology. LAN Consultant for some local organizations.
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