Windows 7 like its predecessors, Vista and XP, allow users to quickly switch between user accounts while logged in.
This is a great feature because you could essentially keep two different accounts logged in without having to loose the things you are working on or waste time logging out and logging back in.
User Accounts Must be Active
If you share your Windows 7 computer with other members of the family you most likely employ user accounts for each member of the family so that preferences, files, and other items are limited to each account.
If you only use one account in Windows 7 then this feature wont apply.
User Switching is Useful
If you are still uncertain about the advantages of user switching, let me illustrate a common scenario.
You are working on a Word Document using your Windows account. Your wife walks up to you and tells you that she needs to access files that are stored in her personal folders.
Rather than having to close the document you are working on, log out of your computer, and then have her log in you can just switch users and leave your work as is, without having to close applications or files. All in three simple steps.
How to Quickly Switch Users in Windows 7
To quickly switch between accounts, follow the instructions below.
1. While logged in to your account, click the Windows Orb to open the Start Menu.
2. Click the small arrow next to the Shut Down button to expand the menu.
3. Click Switch User from the menu.
After you click Switch User you will be taken to the Windows Log-in screen where you will be able to select the account you wish to switch to.
The original session will remain active, but in the background while the other account is accessed.
When you are done using the second account you have the option of switching back to the first account while keeping the second account in the background or logging out the second account altogether.
Switch Again or Log Out?
Unless you need to access the second account right away, I recommend that you sign out from the second account before returning to the first account.
The reason for this, is that keeping two active logins affects performance due to additional resources necessary to keep both accounts logged in.