How to manage signed-in user accounts with the Task Manager in Windows
Having multiple user accounts logged in on your Windows 10 computer can make swapping between them faster, but it can also waste system resources as your computer is forced to maintain two separate environments in memory. If you want the chance to weigh the benefits of this action against the costs, the Task Manager can help. Check out the Users tab to view which user accounts are logged in and see how much of your resources are being used to maintain them. You can also use this tool to close the apps opened by another user or even log them out. Let's see how it works.
NOTE: The features and the instructions in this guide apply to Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 and are the same in both operating systems. As such, to keep things simple, we use screenshots taken in Windows 10.
How to view the Users tab in the Windows Task Manager
Open the Task Manager. One of the fastest ways to do it is to simultaneously press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard. However, there are plenty other methods, and we have shown them in this article: 10 ways to start the Task Manager in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1.
If you see a compact view that lists your open applications, you need to click or tap "More details" before anything else.
Once you are in the full version of the Task Manager, go ahead and select the Users tab.
The user accounts currently logged in will be listed in the first column, followed by some columns depicting system resources being used by each.
By default, you see five columns displayed near the User column. They are:
- Status - shows the status of the accounts and processes listed.
- CPU - displays the percentage of total CPU cycles used by each account and the processes ran by each account.
- Memory - shows the total amount of memory the selected account (or the chosen process) is utilizing.
- Disk - indicates the amount of data being transferred to/from your hard drive.
- Network - displays the network usage of the selected user account or process.
To add additional columns and display more information, right-click (or tap and hold) a column header and select other entries. Your options are:
- ID - shows the unique session ID for each account.
- Session - displays the type of session for each account. This is only useful for a server system where users may log in using remote services.
- Client Name - displays the name of the computer a remote user is logging in from.
You can deselect any column you do not need to close it. This helps to declutter the view and keep the window smaller.
How to manage the processes opened by each user account
From the Users tab, you can click or tap the littlel down arrow next to each user account name to expand a list of all processes opened by that account. Alternatively, you can right-click or long-press an account name and click or tap Expand.
You can check the list of open processes for anything that does not need to be running. If you find an application that is chewing up resources and closing it would not cause any undue hardship on the part of the account holder, you can right-click on it (or press and hold) and click (or tap) "End Task." This closes the process.
You can also select the process and click or tap the "End Task" button on the lower-right corner of the screen.
Once you have gone through the account's processes, you can tap the arrow once again or right-click or long-press the account name and select Collapse to hide the expanded list and display only the name once again.
How to manage open user accounts in the Windows Task Manager
If you have multiple open accounts, there are various tasks you can perform to manage them.
First, right-click or long-press the account's name to view the options available.
Select Connect from the contextual menu to switch to the selected account. Enter the account password in the provided field and click/tap on OK.
Select "Sign off" if you want to sign out the chosen account. If you do not need it open, this is an excellent way to free up resources. Be careful to ensure that the other user does not have any unsaved information as this could result in data loss.
Click or tap "Sign out user" from the warning window if you are confident that you want to close the open account.
Another way to sign out of or switch to an unneeded account is to select the account and click or tap the appropriate button on the lower-right corner of the window.
Select "Send message" from the context menu described above if you want to send a message to the user of the other account. Type your message in the space provided, enter a title if you wish and then click or tap OK.
If a remote user is actively using the selected account, they will get your message immediately. If the user of the other account is not on the computer, they will get the message the next time they unlock the account.
Finally, you can select "Manage user accounts" to open the User Accounts section from the old Control Panel.
From there you can change the account's settings.
The Users tab in the Task Manager does not have a ton of features, but it serves a very practical purpose. With a little effort you can view all open accounts, their impact on your system's performance and manage them to regain resources. It is much faster than swapping over to another account to close a program and switching back. For more information about utilizing the Task Manager in Windows, don't hesitate to read the articles recommended below.