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Fast User Switching

We've already discussed the new Welcome screen in the earlier section “The Welcome Screen,” and I told you I've stopped adding my primary workstation to my home domain to take advantage of the new logon interface. Now, I'm the first to admit, I'm a pretty big geek…so this seems strangely superficial, doesn't it? Ah! But wait! There's a bit more I didn't tell you about this configuration: If your workstation is not joined to a domain and you're using local accounts, you get the additional bonus of Fast User Switching.

So how do you use Fast User Switching? Even if you didn't know Fast User Switching existed, but you'd set up local accounts on your system using the Welcome screen, the default screensaver configuration under Windows XP in a standalone environment would drop back to the Welcome screen after 10 minutes of idle time. Sounds inconvenient at first--who wants to get logged out every 10 minutes? But take a look at Figure 11.5, and you'll notice that two of the user account names now look a little different than before. Both of these users were at some point logged on to the machine, but they got distracted as users often do, and they wandered away. Unlike an environment in which the screensaver is configured to automatically lock the system until the user returns or an administrator overrides the lock, another user can still log on without needing to reboot or override the locked screen.


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