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Why every Mac owner should use Fast User Switching

#1 User is offline   Macworld 

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:00 AM

Post your comments for Why every Mac owner should use Fast User Switching here
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#2 User is offline   Phil 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:01 AM

I have no comment. I just wanted to see if I was able to post a comment from the article page as there seems to be no way to sign in using the sign in button at the top of the site.

This post has been edited by Phil: 18 February 2013 - 03:02 AM

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#3 User is offline   questar05 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:33 AM

I was able to use the sign-in window at the top of the page. I can't tell you why yours didn't work.
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#4 User is offline   gspet 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:48 AM

There's no mention in your article about passwords during Fast User Switching. On my old G4 running Leopard, FSU is truly fast. Select a different user and it goes there immediately. On my new iMac running Mountain Lion, which I share with my wife, we have to enter a password to switch. It's very annoying, especially when my wife can't remember her password. I've tried setting automatic login for both accounts, but it always asks. Am I missing something or is Apple insisting we be protected from each other?
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#5 User is offline   hayesk 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 06:58 AM

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Am I missing something or is Apple insisting we be protected from each other?

I don't recall Leopard letting you do that. And you can only set automatic login for one account. Maybe you didn't have a password set for your wife's account? That's very dangerous if it's an admin account.
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#6 User is offline   mc4o1993 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:05 AM

i have an alternate user setup for my video library (mostly DVD rips). my main user account has all the music, so that gets backed up via time machine. the second user has a different library on a scratch disk which doesn't get backed up. i share the video library so my other account can see it.
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#7 User is offline   Pdq5 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:24 AM

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On my new iMac running Mountain Lion, which I share with my wife, we have to enter a password to switch. It's very annoying, especially when my wife can't remember her password.


Standard disclaimer - the following advice is VERY DANGEROUS, but if you and your wife both just change your passwords to <blank>, you can get FUS without having to enter passwords. That is, go into accounts, and change your passwords to nothing. It'll probably ask if you want to do this, yada, yada. Now just go up to the user menu, and select the name, and the screen swings around and you're there, with no password nonsense.

I'm not sure why this is so dangerous, honestly. My wife and I are the only ones who are home any more. Our Internet access and wifi have strong passwords, and I think there's a default firewall in OSX. Beyond that, someone would have to guess that the password is <blank>; if your installing software and it asks for a password, if you don't just hit return - if you put in any sort of guessed password, it will reject it.

Maybe others can tell me why this is a horrible idea. But it does make FUS a lot more pleasant.
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#8 User is offline   leicaman 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:04 AM

Some great ideas I had not considered. Thanks! I'm going to get my work MacBook Pro set up with a few accounts tomorrow. The presentation account is a keeper!
Eric

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
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#9 User is offline   gspet 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:28 AM

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I don't recall Leopard letting you do that. And you can only set automatic login for one account. Maybe you didn't have a password set for your wife's account? That's very dangerous if it's an admin account.


Well, this is interesting. Pdq5 explained in his reply why I don't need a password on my G4 running Leopard: when I set it up back in '03 I left the admin password blank, as well as the passwords for two other accounts. When I use FUS it switches immediately without asking for the password.

You learn something new every day. As far as it being dangerous, my wife used the G4 at a time when we didn't need to worry much about malicious downloads. 10 years later there's never been a problem. The new iMac is pretty much her machine and it is password protected, thus the somewhat slower FUS.
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#10 User is offline   gspet 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:32 AM

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if you and your wife both just change your passwords to (blank), you can get FUS without having to enter passwords.


That's it. My old G4 has blank for passwords. The new iMac has actual passwords. Thanks.
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#11 User is offline   anthonysmac 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:45 AM

Fast User Switching is handy, but more than one user logged in really slows down my computer. It seems to be doing a lot of swapping (disk use).

Also, as a parent, it would be nice to have a way to log off the kids without having to add more time to their account, in order to log in, then log them off.
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#12 User is offline   talmy 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:18 AM

Rob Griffiths said:

":When you use fast user switching, all those tasks are suspended, and 100 percent of your CPU is available."

This is not true. Anything that was running for the other user continues to run (imagine video rendering in Final Cut Pro, for instance). On the other hand, applications that are idling rather than processing should, if they are properly written, consume no CPU resources even if you don't switch users. Such apps running in the background (not currently displayed) may be swapped out of memory so potentially don't consume memory resources either, even without user switching. However this does require the developers follow the more recent Lion/MtnLion guidelines and APIs.
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#13 User is offline   SteveW25561 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:20 AM

Great tip.

I tried this to fast user switch to the guest account but it asks for a password, which I don't think the guest account has.

I figured fast switching to Guest is an easy way to give temporary computer use to, well, guests. I never bothered taking that step before because shutting down all my apps to log out then back in as guest was too much of a pain.

? Suggestions?
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#14 User is offline   SteveW25561 

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  Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:43 AM

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Great tip. I tried this to fast user switch to the guest account but it asks for a password, which I don't think the guest account has. I figured fast switching to Guest is an easy way to give temporary computer use to, well, guests. I never bothered taking that step before because shutting down all my apps to log out then back in as guest was too much of a pain. ? Suggestions?


-- fixed myself: by disabling then re-enabling the guest account, this problem goes away
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