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Fast User Switching

The account system described so far in this chapter has its charms. It keeps everyone’s stuff separate, it keeps your files safe, and it lets you have the desktop picture of your choice.

Unfortunately, it can go from handy to hassle in one split second. That’s when you’re logged in, and somebody else wants to duck in just for a second—to check email or a calendar, for example. What are you supposed to do—log out completely, closing all of your documents and quitting all of your programs, just so the interloper can look something up? Then afterward, you’d have to log back in and fire up all your stuff again, praying that your inspirational muse hasn’t fled in the meantime.

Frequently Asked Question: Shared Data Files

My wife and my eight-year-old kid share my Mac. Over the years, we’ve amassed a fabulous collection of MP3 files, but at the moment, I’m the only one who sees them in iTunes. This business of separate environments for every account holder is all well and good, but what about when we want to access the same files—like our iTunes library?


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