The Microsoft Account Symbol on a blue background

When you have multiple user accounts, ideal if you’re working on a shared Windows PC, you can switch between accounts without closing any apps you have open or files you’re working on. Here’s how it’s done.

Switch Accounts From the Start Menu

You can switch user accounts straight from the Windows Start menu. Click the Windows icon in the taskbar, click your profile image, and then select the user account you would like to switch to from the context menu.

Switch account from Start.

Once selected, enter the password for that account and it will switch over.

RELATED: How to Set Up Windows 11 Without a Microsoft Account

Switch Accounts Using Ctrl+Alt+Delete

You can also use the infamous Ctrl+Alt+Delete keyboard shortcut to switch user accounts. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete simultaneously on your keyboard. Next, select “Switch User” on the screen that appears.

You’ll then be on the login screen. Select the user account you want to switch over to.

Switch Accounts Using Alt+F4

Another keyboard shortcut you can use when viewing the desktop is the Alt+F4 shortcut. Note that if you have any windows open, this shortcut will simply close the open window instead.

Press Alt+F4 on your keyboard and the “Shut Down Windows” dialog will appear. Click the down arrow next to the text box and then select “Switch User” from the drop-down menu that appears.

Select Switch User.

Next, click “OK’ or press the “Enter” key on your keyboard. You’ll then be on the login screen where you can select a different user account.

Switch Accounts From Windows Terminal (Windows 11 Pro or Higher)

If you want to feel like a hacker, then you can run a command in Windows Terminal that allows you to lock your PC, effectively bringing you back to the login screen where you can select a different account. Note that this method only works on Windows 11 Pro or higher.

First, open Windows Terminal as an admin by right-clicking the Windows icon in the taskbar to open the Power User menu, and then select “Windows Terminal (Admin)” from the menu.

Open Windows Terminal (Admin).

Next, run this command:


Enter command to go to lock screen.

Once you run the command your screen will lock. Unlock the screen and you’ll be on the login screen. Select the user account you would like to switch to. You can also quickly lock your screen by using the Windows+L keyboard shortcut.

Microsoft made it easy to switch between user accounts on Windows. Not only that, if you need to give one of the users admin rights, there’s an easy way to grant them these privileges, as well.

RELATED: How to Change a User Account to Administrator on Windows 10 and 11

Profile Photo for Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer based in Tokyo, Japan, runs VGKAMI and ITEnterpriser, and spends what little free time he has learning Japanese.
Read Full Bio »