What is the name for this feature in OS X 10.5?

There is some sort of user switching feature that isn’t working properly on my children’s computer and I don’t think it’s fast user switching because that account didn’t have fast user switching enabled. The issue is that I was presented with a login screen where I chose a user which had a check next to it indicating that it was currently logged in. I entered the password and was taken to the finder for that account. After about 1 second, the screen transitioned back to the login screen (the transition effect was a cube turning to a different face). Unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with this feature and don’t know how to fix it. I searched around in System Preferences, but nothing popped out at me. Can anyone tell me what this feature is called?


That is the transition effect used in fast user switching, when you ask to return to the login screen without logging out. However, an automatic, quick transition back to the login screen isn’t normal behavior – it means something is wrong. Try restarting the Mac (you’ll have to give it an admin account and password to let it log out the account that’s logged in), which usually fixes such problems.

That is absolutely the fast user switching (it is enabled system wide not by a “User”). One other slight possibility for a similar screen transition effect that might be being triggered by a misfiring? keyboard is “Spaces” which is also controlled under System Preferences, but this has to do with having multiple virtual screens that you can switch to.

I’ve heard of people using this “auto-logout” feature as a method of security for automatically restarting some programs (like an iTunes library) after a power failure, etc. But they write an apple script so they automatically log in to that account after power restart, the apple script starts the programs and then the screen lock (login screen) reactivates or fast user switching etc… It’s a way to make sure that the user still needs the password to do anything on the computer.

With that in mind, go to System Preferences under the Apple then choose Accounts and for the account in question, what Login Items/applications are listed? Although you may not be able to see the other account’s Login items.

But off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything that would give the shift-Command-Q logout command right after logging in.

Is there a parental control feature that logs out an account between certain hours? I wonder if that might be misbehaving. Restarting does indeed get you out of the aforementioned loop.


My guess is the automated logout plist is corrupted.
Try resetting it here using these instructions: