MacPractice Server and multiple OS Users / Fast User Switching

This article discusses utilizing fast-switching users on the OS while the Server is running MacPractice.

We here at Support have fielded a few questions in the past regarding switching OS users while the MacPractice Server is running. There are some concerns whether this can cause problems for the server's operation. If you need any clarification, don't hesitate to contact MacPractice Support.

What is Fast User Switching?
Fast User Switching is a feature within the macOS that allows you to switch over to another OS User while all of your applications are still running in the background on the previous User. Some office network configurations benefit from being able to smoothly switch from User to User. A few MacPractice offices with multiple databases will use this OS feature to switch so they can access different databases from the same computer.

Fast User Switching can have some adverse effects. 
This is due to how MacPractice handles current user data within the OS User's directory on MacPractice builds 5.0 and beyond. When the user is switched without logging out of MacPractice, MacPractice may still attempt to reach that user data but may not have clear access to it due to the OS user changing.

What does that mean in practical terms?
Offices have reported slowness, MacPractice unexpectedly quitting, or preference settings being lost. Occasionally the plist (the file that stores your preference settings) can be corrupted, which can cause odd issues through MacPractice.
Most importantly, eClaims information has significant difficulty being transmitted if Fast User Switching is used on the same computer that eClaims have been sent from, regardless of what build of MacPractice you are running.
However, effects aren't consistent across all machines. Some offices have reported little to no problems with fast user switching. Others have a plethora of issues.

What does MacPractice Support recommend?
If you have eClaims, do not use Fast User Switching on whichever computer you intend to send eClaims from. An easy solution to avoid this is to designate a particular computer you wish to submit eClaims from, and then inform the biller not to switch users when they are handling eClaims.

We recommend that you avoid using Fast User Switching on the Server, simply to avoid additional load on the Server computer.
Client computers are ideal targets to experiment with Fast User Switching, but you still may encounter issues.
If you continue to encounter issues, we recommend discontinuing the use of Fast User Switching.



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