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Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition by David Pogue

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Fast User Switching

The account system described so far in this chapter has its charms. It keeps everyone's stuff separate, it keeps your files safe, and it lets you have the desktop picture of your choice.

Top: The appearance of the Accounts menu lets you know that Fast User Switching is turned on. The circled checkmark indicates people who are already logged in, including those who have been "fast user switched" into the background. The dimmed account name shows who's logged in right now.Bottom: Fast User Switching lets one account holder "cut in" without requiring someone else to log out first. When the screen changes from your account to somebody else's, your entire world slides visibly offscreen as though it's mounted on the side of a rotating cube–a spectacular animation made possible by Mac OS X's Quartz Extreme graphics software. (On older Mac'S that lack Quartz Extreme, you get the feature, but not the animation.)

Figure 12-13. Top: The appearance of the Accounts menu lets you know that Fast User Switching is turned on. The circled checkmark indicates people who are already logged in, including those who have been "fast user switched" into the background. The dimmed account name shows who's logged in right now. Bottom: Fast User Switching lets one account holder "cut in" without requiring someone else to log out first. When the screen changes from your account to somebody else's, your entire world slides visibly offscreen as though it's mounted on the side of a rotating cube–a spectacular animation made possible by Mac OS X's Quartz Extreme graphics software. (On older Mac'S that lack Quartz Extreme, you get the feature, but not the animation.)

Unfortunately, it can go from handy to hassle in one split second. That's when you're logged in, and somebody else wants to duck in just for a second—to check email or a calendar, for example. What are you supposed to do—log out completely, closing all of your documents and quitting all of your programs, just so the interloper can look something up? Then afterward, you'd have to log back in and fi re up all your stuff again, praying that your inspirational ...

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