Login session

In computing, a login session is the period of activity between a user logging in and logging out of a (multi-user) system.

On Unix and Unix-like operating systems, a login session takes one of two main forms:

  • When a textual user interface is used, a login session is represented as a kernel session — a collection of process groups with the logout action managed by a session leader.
  • Where an X display manager is employed, a login session is considered to be the lifetime of a designated user process that the display manager invokes.

On Windows NT-based systems, login sessions are maintained by the kernel and control of them is within the preview of the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSA). winlogon responds to the secure attention key, requests the LSA to create login sessions on login, and terminates all of the processes belonging to a login session on logout.

See also

Further reading

  • Microsoft. "How Interactive Logon Works". Windows Server 2003 Technical Library.

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