Log out, power off or switch users

When you have finished using your computer, you can turn it off, suspend it (to save power), or leave it powered on and log out.

Log out or switch users

To let other users use your computer, you can either log out, or leave yourself logged in and just switch users. If you switch users, all of your applications will continue running, and everything will be where you left it when you log back in.

To Log Out or Switch User, click the system menu on the right side of the top bar, click your name and then choose the correct option.

The Log Out and Switch User entries only appear in the menu if you have more than one user account on your system.

Lock the screen

If you’re leaving your computer for a short time, you should lock your screen to prevent other people from accessing your files or running applications. When you return, raise the lock screen curtain and enter your password to log back in. If you don’t lock your screen, it will lock automatically after a certain amount of time.

To lock your screen, click the system menu on the right side of the top bar and press the lock screen button at the bottom of the menu.

When your screen is locked, other users can log in to their own accounts by clicking Log in as another user on the password screen. You can switch back to your desktop when they are finished.


To save power, suspend your computer when you are not using it. If you use a laptop, GNOME, by default, suspends your computer automatically when you close the lid. This saves your state to your computer’s memory and powers off most of the computer’s functions. A very small amount of power is still used during suspend.

To suspend your computer manually, click the system menu on the right side of the top bar. From there you may either hold down the Alt key and click the power off button, or simply long-click the power off button.

Power off or restart

If you want to power off your computer entirely, or do a full restart, click the system menu on the right side of the top bar and press the power off button at the bottom of the menu. A dialog will open offering you the options to either Restart or Power Off.

If there are other users logged in, you may not be allowed to power off or restart the computer because this will end their sessions. If you are an administrative user, you may be asked for your password to power off.

You may want to power off your computer if you wish to move it and do not have a battery, if your battery is low or does not hold charge well. A powered off computer also uses less energy than one which is suspended.