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How To Disable Or Enable User Switching In Windows Vista?

I can’t recall that I did disable or turn off Windows Vista Fast User Switching, but somehow the Switch User function is missing from my Dell Latitude.

Frankly speaking, the aging laptop scores only 1 in Windows Experience Index is not justified for two Windows user accounts log in concurrently. However, Switch User function could be useful during account lockout period which normally last for 30 minutes.

This happen to me in the morning meeting, where I failed to unlock the locked Windows Desktop after entering wrong password for 3 tries in a row :-(.

Without Fast User Switching enabled, I don’t think there is another simple way to reset the lockout Windows account. Thus, I had to wait for a 30-minutes lapse in order to log on and continue with the unsaved files and PowerPoint slides again.

Now, rather than find out why or “who” disabled the Switch User function, I find a way to re-enable (or disable it, for you case) the Fast User Switching in Windows Vista:
The following steps make changes to Windows Registry. If you’re not comfortable with Registry editing, stop here or be careful.

1) Open an elevated Command Prompt (i.e. a Command Prompt window with real Administrator privilege),

2) Copy and paste the following Reg.exe command in the elevated Command Prompt window, followed by pressing ENTER key to enable Switch User function in Windows Vista:
reg add HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v HideFastUserSwitching /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

To disable Fast User Switching in Windows Vista:

Similarly, open an elevated Command Prompt window and execute the following Reg.exe command:
reg add HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v HideFastUserSwitching /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

Personally, I prefer to use Reg.exe to edit Windows Registry in Command Prompt window, provided the command is valid for the purpose.
Reg.exe is bundled with Windows Vista installation. For non-Vista users, you might need to separately download Reg.exe of Microsoft Platform Support Reporting Utility.

If you’ve doubt or prefer to manually update Windows Registry with Regedit.exe or Regedt32.exe, just locate the HideFastUserSwitching key in this following Registry path:

HKey_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

The key value 0 means to enable while 1 to disable Switch User function.

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  1. Using gpedit To Enable Or Disable Switch User In Vista SP2 31-05-09@12:03

    […] one ways to the Rome. Besides Windows Registry, you can also use Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) to enable or disable Windows Vista Fast User Switching function. To certain extent, Local Group Policy editor can be regarded as a better front-end to Windows […]

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