Windows 10 and other operating systems store all data on a PC based on the logged in user account. It is very common, in family and in public areas, for multiple users to use a single PC. Even one person can have multiple user accounts on a same PC for carrying out different tasks. Windows 10 will prompt you to enter username and password when you login to your computer for booting. After that instance, you can simply log out from one account and switch to another account without shutting down your computer.
Log Off / Sign Out and Switch Account
Before we explain further, there are few confusions when using the word “log off”.
- Microsoft uses this function as “log off” in earlier versions like Windows 7. In Windows 10, you can see Microsoft renamed the same feature as “Sign Out” instead of “Log Off”. So, do not get confused, sign out and log off are the same with different names.
- Windows 7 has logoff under power button. However, in Windows 10, the power button will have restart, shut down and sleep options. The sign out option is moved to different places in the menu items. Generally, this makes sense that the logging out is not an option connected at your computer level like shut down or restart. Since it applies at user level, it is supposed to be in the user account section. Moving the place of the frequently used menu item is the only confusion especially when you are habituated with Windows 7.
- Another confusion is with “switch account” option. Switch account is a super easy function that helps to switch between use accounts without terminating any of the logged in users.
When you log off or sign out, Windows will close all open applications and terminate your account from the connected network. You can switch to another user account or login to the same account again from the lock screen. When you login, you will see the desktop similar to normal startup without any open applications running. All programs need to initialize from the beginning like reconnecting to mapped network drives.
On other hand, switching account will retain all open applications of the previous user when switching to another account. This means you can simply toggle accounts at any point of time and continue where you left after login in both user accounts. All previously open applications will continue to run when switching the account though your network may disconnect and reconnect again.
Understanding this difference in mind, let us explain different ways to sign out of your Windows 10 computer. We use sing out in remaining part of this article with the similar meaning as log off as Windows 10 uses in the same manner. In addition, the possibilities of switching account is mentioned wherever it is applicable.
7 Ways to Log Off or Sign Out from Windows 10 User Account
- From Start menu user account
- Using power menu
- Sign out from Command Prompt
- Use Ctrl + Alt + Del
- Shut down options from Alt + F4
- From Run Command
- Adding shortcut to desktop
1. Start Menu
Windows 10 has no sign out or switch account option in the power button on start menu. Microsoft simply removed this option and moved under the user account button. Click on the “Start” button and then click on the logged in user profile picture. You can choose to sign out or switch account from here.
When multiple users are logged in, then you can directly choose different user account to switch the account without signing out from the account.
2. Power Menu
Press “Win + X” shortcut keys or simply right click on the start button to open power menu. Click on “Shut down or sign out” option and choose “Sign out”. As you can see in power menu, you will only have option for signing out and no option for switching account is available.
3. Sign Out from Command Prompt
After pressing “Win + X” keys, choose “Windows PowerShell” option from the menu. Note, if you are not seeing PowerShell then you will see Command Prompt option. You can choose either Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell whatsoever showing in the menu. Enter the command “shutdown /l” and hit enter.
Windows will sign out instantly and go back to the lock screen.
4. Ctrl + Alt + Del
This is the most popular shortcut to shut down your computer. Here you will have options to sign out or switch account between users.
5. Alt + F4
This is another popular shortcut to close applications in Windows. First, close all open applications and press “Alt + F4”. You will see “Shut Down Windows” popup opens. Click on the dropdown and choose “Sign Out” option.
6. Run Logoff Command
Press “Win + R” to open “Run” dialog box. Type “logoff” and enter to sign out of your account. Windows 10 will signing out of your account instantly.
7. Adding Sign Out or Log Off Shortcut Menu
If you do not like any of the above mentioned method for signing out of your computer then there is a trick you can do to make the process simpler. Type “logoff” in the Windows or Cortana Search Box. You will see the first options as “Logoff” as Run Command which is the option explained in previous step. Right click on that and choose “Open file location”.
This will open the path “C:\Windows\System32” where “logoff.exe” file is stored on your computer. Right click on the “logoff” file and choose “Send to > Desktop (create shortcut)”.
This will add the shortcut in your desktop for logoff option. Simply double click on the desktop shortcut to quickly sign out of your computer.
Lock with Win + L
Press “Win + L” to lock your computer. Here you will not find any sign out option. However, if your objective is to switch the account to another user then click on “Other user” and login as different user account.
Hope you understand many ways to signing out of your computer without hassle. Note, when you sign out or run logoff command, Windows 10 will immediately start signing out without any notice. Though sometimes you will see a warning message showing there are open applications, it will not help you in saving the working documents. So in order to avoid loss of work, remember to save and close all your working documents and folders before signing out / logoff in any of the methods.