Scenario: You come in to the office and sit down at your workstation on Monday morning, but when you go to your computers login screen there’s another users’ username on the screen; usually the network administrator’s username. That’s a pretty good indicator that the network admin was working on your computer remotely making sure things are working correctly by doing some necessary program upgrades/updates, fixing a problem on your computer, or performing work that can only be done after regular office hours.

Most Network Administrators I know, including myself, don’t keep track of or store user passwords. User passwords, unless for something very specific fall under the heading of your-company-private-stuff. and I-already-have-too-many-of-my-own-passwords to keep track of. Plus, if you forget your password its much easier and faster to simply reset the password on the server. It literally takes me 30 seconds to reset a users’ password on the server with a default password and then allow the user to change it. But, I digress… Let me get to the point of this post: Switch Users on the Windows Login Screen.

It really is an easy process. Windows 10 lists at least the last three user accounts that logged in recently on the welcome screen. All you have to do is choose yours from the list displayed on the welcome screen. Windows 7 is a bit different, but it’s just as easy when you know the steps.

The first thing you see is the standard welcome screen that contains the familiar message to press CTRL-ALT-Delete to login.

 

 

When you do, you’ll see a screen that look similar to this one. As you can see in this image someone else other than yourself was the last to log into your workstation. In this case it was the Domain Administrator. If you look just below the password input field you’ll see a button labeled Switch User outlined in Red. Click on that button to move to the next screen where you can actually switch users to log into your machine as yourself.

 

 

 

Now, you’re presented with a screen that appears like this. You can see the last user that logged into your system on the left and another object labeled Other User outlined in Red. Click on Other User and this will take you to the next and final screen.

 

 

 

So, after a few clicks you’re right where you need to be: The place where you’ll input your username and password so you can log into your workstation.

At this point I’ve seen people freeze for a few moments attempting to remember exactly what their username is. Don’t feel silly… people get very used to their username always being already in the username field that they don’t give it much thought when they log in. It’s very common. Typically, your username is the first part of your email address: the part before the ‘@’ symbol.

In case the network administrator forgot to log off your system when he was done working on your system, and I’m guilty of doing this from time to time, a quick reboot of the system will sort this out for you. Then just follow the steps outline here and log into your system.

As I mentioned earlier, with Windows 10 when you get to the welcome screen you just hit the ESCAPE key to access the login screen, or choose one of at least three users listed in the lower left corner of the welcome screen. Even if the previous user forgot to log out of the system you can still switch users because the there will be two items listed in the lower left corner of the welcome screen: (1) the current user… (2) Other user… You would naturally choose other user and then input your credentials, and viola!

In the grand scheme of things this seems like a trivial matter, but it isn’t. And if you happen to be one of many users who aren’t well versed in how to perform this action, you shouldn’t feel bad or dumb. If it’s not something you do often, for what ever reason, then it’s not something that you’re likely to store away in your mind as an important item to remember. What matters is knowing where to find the answer.

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