Why Does Windows 11 Keep Logging You Out?

There are few things as annoying as when our technology doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. Unfortunately, sometimes things just act buggy, and Windows 11 is no exception. One incredibly frustrating bug for users is when Windows 11 logs them out of their accounts.

Windows 11 may keep logging you out because of an issue with your settings or a corrupted file or program. Issues with settings include your sleep or screen saver settings. Other issues include problems with your RAM, corrupted user folders, incompatible programs, or you need to install an update.

It’s challenging to get work done when your computer keeps logging you out. Below, I’ll explain some of the common reasons why Windows 11 is logging users out and how to resolve this issue.

log out on a computer

Why Windows 11 keeps logging you out

While this is not one of the issues Microsoft has acknowledged or resolved, many users have been dealing with Windows 11 logging them out when they don’t want it to.

Some users have reported this issue fixed when adjusting settings, like the ones for sleep mode or their screensaver. However, many times, we don’t even think about these settings.

Other users have found that a specific program or corrupt data causes this issue. 

So, let’s take a stroll through the various things that might be causing Windows 11 to log you out and look at the solutions. 

Sleep Mode is set to log you out

There are two different situations where sleep mode may be logging you out.

Some users are frustrated that they’re being logged out when they have left their computer idle, while others may find that Windows 11 logs them out even while using the computer. 

Sleep Mode after being left idle

If your computer is logging you out after leaving it idle, this is almost certainly a sleep mode issue.

Sleep mode is a power-saving method for your computer. When left idle, the computer goes to “sleep” but doesn’t turn off.

Sleep mode allows it to save power but still wake up quickly when you come back.

Typically, when a computer wakes from sleep mode, you must log in to prove you’re the one using it. However, you can override that default setting quickly. 

Adjusting sleep mode settings is relatively simple and only takes a few steps:

how to open the settings app in windows 11
  1. Open the Settings app. If you’re struggling to find it, just type it into the search on the taskbar.
  2. Under Settings, go to System.
  3. Under System, find Power.
  4. Under Power, find Screen and sleep.
  5. Under this menu, you can adjust your sleep settings to what you prefer and even turn off sleep completely.

Random Sleep Mode

However, some users have found that their computer will go into sleep mode when it’s not supposed to, possibly due to conflict with another program or software.

To find out if the software is the issue, restart your computer in safe mode.

Your computer only runs the necessary files and drivers when using safe mode.

To put your computer in safe mode:

  1. First, go to the Settings app.
  2. In Settings, go to System.
  3. Under System, go to Recovery.
  4. Under Recovery, choose Restart now.
  5. When the Choose an option screen comes up, select Troubleshoot.
  6. Under Troubleshoot, go to Advanced options.
  7. Under Advanced options, go to Startup settings.
  8. When your computer reboots, you’ll have a list of startup setting options. Press 4 or F4 for safe mode and 5 or F5 for safe mode with the internet.

If using safe mode solves your logout problem, it’s likely a program issue. Now what?

A user on this thread had this issue and had to narrow down which program was causing the problem. 

Here’s how he did it:

  1. Open MSConfig. You can do this by typing system configuration into the taskbar search.
  2. Go to the Services tab and choose Hide all Microsoft services.
  3. Select Disable all.
  4. Go to the Startup tab and select Open task manager.
  5. Find Startup within the task manager. Select each startup item and then select Disable.
  6. Back on the Startup tab under System configuration, press Okay.
  7. Restart your computer.
  8. Once rebooted, go back to MSConfig and turn off one group of programs at a time until the issue goes away.
  9. From there, turn off one program at a time until the issue goes away.

He found his issue to be with Intel Ready Mode. This logout issue isn’t the only conflict found between Microsoft and Intel, so if you suspect that a program is causing your problems, that may be an excellent place to start. 

Your screen saver automatically locks your computer

lock screen on laptop computer screen

If you’re finding that your computer boots you back to the login page after the screen saver has come on, it’s probably due to your screen saver settings.

Sometimes, Windows defaults will make it so that you have to log back in every time you leave your computer idle, but you can change these settings with a quick visit to your system preferences menu. 

These settings are easy to adjust:

  1. Go to the Settings app.
  2. Under Settings, find Personalization.
  3. In Personalization, look for the Lock screen.
  4. Under the Lock screen, choose Screen saver settings.
  5. In the pop-up window, you can adjust how long it takes for the screen saver to activate. You’ll also see an option for the computer to go to the login screen when it resumes. Uncheck this box.

Your RAM is insufficient 

ram modules for desktop computer

RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is your computer’s short-term memory. RAM is where your computer sends information for apps and programs you currently have open. 

Sometimes, it goes bad, and when it goes bad, your computer goes haywire. If your computer doesn’t have a place to store information for active apps and programs, you can’t use or open any apps or programs.

Overheating and electromagnetic interference can cause your RAM to fail, but sometimes, it just wears out.

To tell if your RAM is insufficient, you need to run the memory diagnostic tool. This diagnostic troubleshooting only takes a few steps: 

  1. Press the Windows key and R.
  2. The Run box will pop up. Type in mdsched.exe and hit Ok.
  3. Restart.
  4. Upon rebooting, your computer will complete a scan.

So what do you do if your RAM is insufficient? Well, it depends on how confident you are in your tech skills. 

If you have never fixed or put together a computer, you may want to take it to a repair shop for a replacement. 

Otherwise, you can shut down your computer and remove all the ram sticks except one, then reboot. Keep switching the RAM sticks out until you find the faulty stick, then replace it.

You need to update Windows 11

update loading illustration

This Microsoft Forum suggests that the issue could be caused by having an old version of the Windows 11 software and recommends ensuring your computer is fully updated.

All kinds of things can go wrong if you’re not up-to-date, so keeping the newest OS version on your computer is a great idea anyway. 

To update your device: 

  1. Go to the Windows 11 page.
  2. Select the Download button and choose Run.
  3. Accept the terms if you are happy after reading them first.
  4. When the What do you want to do? page comes up, select Upgrade this PC.
  5. Hit Next.
  6. The software will download and install.

Your user folders are corrupted

If you find that you’re being kicked back to the login screen after creating a new user, it could be that there’s an issue with the default folder.

A default folder is a folder the operating system makes for you, such as Documents, Photos, and Downloads.

When creating a new user profile, that data is stored in a default folder. If the folder is corrupted, the new user will not be able to log in.

If this sounds like it might be your problem, buckle up. We’ve got some exploring to do:

  1. Reboot in safe mode and log in with an admin account.
  2. Press the Windows key +R and type in Regedit.
  3. Then type in, or paste:
Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
  1. Find and click on Shell
  2. Ensure that under Value data, it says explorer.exe
  3. If it doesn’t, type that in.
  4. Find and click Userinit.
  5. Under Value data, ensure it says C:\WINDOWS\system32\userinit.exe.
  6. If it doesn’t, type that in.
  7. Restart the computer in normal mode.

Sound a bit too confusing? Here’s a tutorial:

What to do if nothing worked

Tried all the steps, and still nothing? You have a couple of options left before going nuclear.

First, try general Microsoft troubleshooting. Type “Troubleshoot” into the taskbar search, and it will pull up several options for you to try.

There may be troubleshooting recommendations waiting for you, but if not, you can try running diagnostics on options like Windows update and Power.

If you still cannot diagnose the issue, you may want to visit a repair shop before completely wiping your computer. 

Known issues with Windows 11

As mentioned above, the logout issue is not something currently addressed by Microsoft. However, there are a few issues they have been candid about that users should be aware of.

One issue that Microsoft resolved as of April 2022 is that saved data from Internet Explorer 11 isn’t available if you didn’t import it into Edge before upgrading to Windows 11.

If you run into this issue, make sure your Edge browser is fully updated. Once updated, it should fix the problem.

Microsoft has also noted a compatibility issue with Oracle’s VirtualBox if Hyper-V or Hypervisor is installed. Users may see an error or be unable to start VirtualBox at all.

Oracle’s latest issues of VirtualBox have resolved this issue, so be sure you’re using the most updated version.

If your computer runs Intel Smart Sound Technology, you may have issues with specific versions of the drivers.

Again, the solution is to make sure everything is updated to the most recent versions.

How to download Windows 11

Maybe you stumbled over here accidentally or have wiped your whole system, but you’re ready to download Windows 11 now. What steps do you need to take?

  1. Wait until Windows Update notifies you that your upgrade is ready. That is what Microsoft recommends.
  2. Before trying to install Windows 11, run a PC Health Check. Running this diagnostic will check and ensure that there won’t be any issues with your device. To download the PC Health Check App, click here.
  3. Make sure you’re running Windows 10 version 2004 or later.
  4. Make sure you have at least 9GB of free disk space.
  5. If you’re downloading from the Microsoft Website, make sure you’re logged in as an administrator and click Download now.
  6. Once the installation assistant is on your computer, click Run. The installation tool will verify that your device hardware is compatible with Windows 11. 
  7. The license terms will pop up. Read them, then choose to Accept and install if you are satisfied.
  8. Once everything is ready, your computer will ask you to restart. Choose Restart now.
  9. The restart process completes installation and may take a while. Your computer will restart a few times. Do not turn your computer off.

Why download Windows 11

You don’t have to download Windows 11 if you don’t want to. At least, not yet, as Microsoft has said they’ll support Windows 10 through 2025. However, some features may make you want to update sooner.

  • New gaming features.
  • Smoother performance.
  • Waking faster from sleep mode.
  • Reorganized, simplified Start Menu and Taskbar.
  • Improved multitasking performance.
  • More intuitive tablet mode.

Conclusion

If Windows 11 logs you out after being idle for a while, there may be an underlying issue or an incorrectly chosen setting.

Most of the time, the fix is simple, and all you’ll have to do is change a screen-saver or sleep mode setting.

Other times, your RAM might be damaged, or you may have a corrupted system file. 

If you’ve tried these tips and nothing has worked, you might need to take it to the pros.

Ultimately, the important thing is that your computer is working the way it’s supposed to so you can work the way you’re supposed to.