How to quickly switch accounts in Windows 11

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If we have multiple accounts on the Windows PC, we can quickly switch between accounts

On PCs that have multiple user accounts, we can switch between accounts without restarting or shutting down the computer, as Windows provides various shortcuts to switch active users on the fly. Knowing this type of shortcut will prove very useful when we have various test accounts on the computer in use or when we use a shared computer and need to be away for a while, thus leaving the PC on the login page (where you can choose which account to start).

multiple accounts on the Windows PC
multiple accounts on the Windows PC

In this simple guide, we will show you how to quickly switch accounts on Windows 11, using both the menus and keys provided by the operating system and the shortcuts that can be used by more advanced users and geeks. Finally, we will also show you how to create a quick shortcut on the desktop to switch users on the fly.

Start menu

The first method to quickly change accounts on Windows 11 is also the simplest to use, since it is sufficient to open the Start menu, press in the lower-left corner of the menu on the account active at that moment, and select the new account in the list that will appear.

From the same list, we can also select the Block option (to block access to the account and show the login screen) and the Disconnect option (to close the active account and return to the login screen).

With the option Block apps and open windows in the account will be kept (just log in again to pick up where we left off), while with the Disconnect option all apps and windows will be closed.

Alternatively, we can quickly change accounts by pressing the right button on the Start menu, pressing on the Close or disconnect menu, and finally pressing on the Exit item.

Classic keyboard shortcut

On all modern Windows, we can switch accounts on the fly with a simple keyboard shortcut, avoiding bothering the Start menu for the purpose. The keyboard shortcut we can use is the following:

CTRL + ALT + DEL

Pressing on these keys we will see the desktop disappear and in its place, we will get the Windows advanced screen, where it is possible to select the Change user item. From the same screen, we can also access the Task Manager (in case of problems or blockages of the windows and the operating system), block the current user (and return to the login screen), and disconnect the current user.

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Alternative keyboard shortcut

Another less known but equally effective keyboard shortcut for quickly switching accounts on Windows 11 is the following:

ALT + F4

To launch this command correctly, go to the desktop or select one of the empty virtual desktops (without windows in the foreground), press the keys seen in the shortcut, and, in the window that opens, press Exit or Change user in the drop-down menu to proceed with the change of account.

This basic shortcut also closes the active programs in the foreground, so you should be careful to use it if we only need to change users without completely closing the one currently in use.

Another very quick shortcut for switching users is:

WIN + L

This shortcut is used to lock the PC, without closing any program for the active user and with the possibility of being able to switch to another user from the login screen.

Terminal command

For IT experts it is possible to change the account on Windows 11 on the fly even using the terminal, but only if we are using Windows 11 Pro (no Windows 11 Home); if we do not know which Windows we are currently using, please read our guide to check which Windows version and what computer I am using.

After carrying out the necessary checks, press the right button on the Start menu, select the Windows Terminal (Admin) item, confirm the administrator permissions and finally enter the following command:

tsdiscon

By pressing the Enter key on the keyboard, the screen will turn black and the user currently in use will be blocked; pressing any key we will find ourselves on the login screen, ready to select a new account among those present on the PC.

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Quick shortcut on the desktop

Geek users can also create a convenient shortcut on the desktop to log out of the currently used account and switch to another account. To proceed, let’s go to the desktop, press the right mouse button and select New -> Connection.

In the new window that will appear, enter the following command:

shutdown.exe / l

We click on Next, we type a name of your choice (for example Disconnect ) and we click on Finish. Let’s try the command immediately by double-clicking on it: the user account in use will be immediately disconnected and we will return to the login screen.

After checking the operation of this shortcut, press the right button on it, select the Properties item, click on the Change icon and choose an icon that is more suitable for the type of link we have created.

Those who wish can also create shortcuts for shutting down or restarting the system, as seen in our guide to the keys to Shut Down Windows 10 and 11, Reboot the PC, and Disconnect

Conclusions

On multi-user PCs, it is advisable to immediately learn the commands to be able to exit, block and disconnect the user we are using, so as to prevent someone else from accessing the services to which we are logged in or impersonating us in chats or on social networks. WIN + L is probably the most convenient and easy-to-use shortcut for the purpose, but there are so many ways to quickly switch accounts on Windows 11.

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