Microsoft

Quick Tip: Reasons Windows XP Fast User Switching doesn't work

Windows XP Fast User Switching makes it easy for one user to quickly borrow a computer from another. However, it doesn't always work the way it's supposed to. Here are some of the common problems.


Windows XP's new Fast User Switching feature allows one user to quickly access a computer without forcing another to log off or quit applications. As handy of a feature as this may be, it doesn't always work properly. Here are some of the reasons why Fast User Switching may not work properly:

Insufficient memory
For Fast User Switching to work properly, Windows XP must have at least 64 MB of RAM. Although this is a defined minimum, Microsoft states that the system must have at least 120 MB of free RAM or XP will deactivate Fast User Switching. This can especially be a problem if the system shares video memory with main memory. In addition, for Fast User Switching to work properly, the currently logged on user may have to exit a few programs.

Domain membership
Fast User Switching will not work if you're using Windows XP Professional and the computer is a member of a network domain.

Third party programs
Third-party programs, such as the Novell client and the Citrix client, replace the Microsoft Graphical Identification and Authentication file (Msgina.dll). Fast User Switching requires Windows XP's original Msgina.dll file. Check third-party applications to see if they replace this file.

Incompatible applications
Even though Fast User Switching is supposed to allow one user to keep applications running while another borrows the computer, some applications aren't compatible with this feature. You can use the Windows Application Compatibility Toolkit.

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