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I log in to this computer twice: once with my personal account, and once with a work account. I wish I could switch login sessions really fast.

I want it to be as fast as ALT-TAB, but anything I can do that's faster than the default would be nice.

Currently the steps are:

  1. CTRL-ALT-DEL
  2. ALT-W (Switch User)
  3. CTRL-ALT-DEL (required to log in on my domain)
  4. Click on the user
  5. Type password
  6. ENTER

It would be really nice to have this be really, really fast.

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Whatever you find, you'll still be stuck with at least Ctrl + Alt + Del and typing in a password, for security reasons. That's the bad news. No good news, I'm afraid. –  user3463 Jun 21 '10 at 19:36
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5 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Did you know that you can use WIN+L to lock your user, and then ALT+O to switch to another user.


Someone in the guide Slightly Faster User Switching for Windows 7 mentions:

As best as I can tell, there is no simple/direct means to do that in Windows 7... you must always go through a manual step in the login screen. In retrospect, I agree with the Microsoft designers: That is a very good idea.

This describes almost any methods posted so far, except for grawity's suggestion.

But that guy from the guide also mentions:

I should also mention that there is a commercial program (DUST) that purports to enable quicker user switching; however I've read mixed reviews on that software and I (personally) never install time-limited trial software. It's too annoying to deal with.

DUST seems to exactly answer to what you want, it's like doing an ALT+TAB to another session.

But as usual with those kind of tools, they are not free... Either pick this or grawity's suggestion. ;-)


When I was about to close the tab I quickly checked for compatibility and found another possible solution:

Windows XP/Vista/7 Task Manager

Direct switching is possible through the Users tab of Windows XP/Vista/7 Task Manager by right clicking a disconnected user and selecting Connect. However this does not support saved passwords and always attempts to connect using an empty password, this can be useful but also harmful if there is a bad password limit in force. In addition to it being much slower and less convenient it also means each session ends up having an open task manager on the desktop.

Furthermore under Windows Vista/7, many features on the Users tab require elevation but the options do not have the shield icon nor do they prompt for elevation. Hence it is necessary to elevate the property sheet by clicking the Show processes from all users button on the Processes tab. This causes the property sheet to be replaced by an elevated one where the Show processes from all users button is now a check box, this can be turned off to get the same items displayed as before.

As an alternative you could use Process Explorer which can be minimized to the tray bar.

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Yes, I know that. My #1 and #2 can be replaced with those two. Same number of steps, sadly. Pretty key images, though. –  Jay Bazuzi Aug 9 '10 at 19:42
    
Okay, check my update, took it to the next level. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 10 '10 at 10:26
    
Side Note: You can create keys by using <kbd>KEY</kbd>. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 10 '10 at 10:26
    
Another update, less convenient but doesn't need a non-MS tool. –  Tom Wijsman Aug 10 '10 at 10:34
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tscon <sessionid>

If you want the password to be remembered, write a .cmd script or use the WinStationConnectW() magic.


Also may be useful: tsdiscon, qwinsta, rwinsta, logout, shadow

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Or the GUI-based alternative of opening Task Manager, going to Users, right-click on the target session, then Connect. The command-line solution that grawity suggested seems to require the password typed in (tscon <sessionID> /password:<password>), otherwise it gives "Error [1326]:Logon failure: unknown user name or bad password." –  C.B. May 7 at 13:18
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To what purpose are you using the two accounts? Do you simply need separate workspaces? Try looking for "virtual desktops" or "multiple desktops". There are a number of good questions here on SuperUser which cover that topic.

Do you need to run applications as separate accounts for permission reasons? You can always use right click -> run as to launch an application as a different user within your current session. It sounds like you're looking for virtual desktops though.

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Try this small portable utility - http://www.myportablesoftware.com/fastuserswitch.aspx It will get you directly to the user selection screen, skipping two of the manual actions (locking and selecting "switch user")

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Check this out, someone else might be able to elaborate on how you can use tsdiscon within the shortcut, if that can be done, to switch to a specific user.

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