How to log off, switch users, or lock your Windows® 7 computer
When you’re finished with your daily work and going away from your system, you want to ensure that you don’t leave it in a condition in which others can use your credentials to access your files or folders. To do that, you can choose any one of these options - log off, switch users, or lock your computer.
Log Off: With this option, you can quit all your running programs. To log off, click the arrow in the lower right corner of the Start menu and click Log Off.
Switch User: This option is also known as Fast User Switching where your programs continue to run. Your account is still logged on, but (if it’s protected by a password) only you can return to your session.
To switch users, click the arrow in the lower right corner of the Start menu and click Switch User. This will take you to the Welcome screen, where you can click the name of the account you want to switch to.
Fast User Switching, a feature that first came with Windows XP, allows multiple users to be logged on to a computer at the same time. As the feature name suggests, you can quickly switch among users. This might be beneficial, for instance, if one user logs on, opens several documents, and begins downloading a huge file from the Internet. Meanwhile, another user comes along and wants to quickly check an email. No problem, the second user can log on, log off, and return control to the first user. While the second user is logged on, the first user’s applications (such as the download process) continue to run.
Lock: When you use this option, your programs continue to run in background, but the log on screen appears so that no one can see your desktop or use the computer. Only you can unlock the computer to return to your session. However, other users can log on in their own sessions without disturbing yours. To lock a system, click the arrow in the lower right corner of the Start menu and click Lock.
Alternatively, to lock your computer, you can press Windows logo key+L on your keyboard. Its more convenient.
Microsoft recommends that if you want to prevent others from using your account, you must use your account with a password.
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