Windows kiosk mode is an access feature which allows you to configure your Windows system as a kiosk device. By switching to this mode, you can turn your laptop or PC into a guest computer, digital signage, captive portal, or public browser. In this guide, we walk you through the detailed steps of launching kiosk mode on a Windows machine.
What Is Windows 10 Kiosk Mode?
The kiosk mode in Windows 10 is an Administrator implementation that forces your Windows PC to run one or more Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, putting everything else off limits to guest users.
As a Windows user, you may have come across many UWP examples:
- Groove Music
- Microsoft Edge
- Office 365
- Snip & Sketch
These apps have been designed to provide a consistent and identical user experience on any device: PC, laptop, tablet, Xbox One, or smartphone.
When the device owner locks down the display into a kiosk, the guest users can’t use it for anything other than the chosen UWP applications.
Advantages of Windows 10 Kiosk Mode
There are many benefits of running a Windows 10 device in kiosk mode.
- Guest computer: if you must share your personal device with family, friends, or workmates, it’s best to set it in kiosk mode. The guest users can save their data in a kiosk-only desktop and will not have access to your hard drive contents.
- Captive portal: captive portals are often used in marketing events, conferences, and tradeshows. In Windows kiosk mode, you can convert your device to display only one captive portal. It could be a company website, customer login interface, or remote desktop.
- Interactive display: by using the Windows 10 kiosk mode together with Windows tablet mode, you can have an interactive display of all your favorite apps.
- Digital signage: use Windows kiosk mode to display advertisements, digital signs, or a continuously-running PowerPoint presentation
- Play videos: use Windows kiosk mode to play YouTube videos in a continuous loop.
How to Enable Kiosk Mode in Windows 10 and 11
The following steps describe how to enable kiosk mode in Windows PC, laptop or tablet PC. The method is similar for both Windows 10 and Windows 11.
- From the Windows 10 Start menu, click the Gear icon for “Settings” or look for it in a Start menu search of Windows 11. Click “Accounts.”
- Open the “Family & Other Users” menu and click “Add someone else to the PC” in the “Family & other users” tab.
- Instead of entering a Hotmail or Outlook username in the Microsoft account login window, click “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.”
- You will be asked to create a local user account for your PC. Give it a name based on the kiosk purpose.
- You can add a password or keep the fields blank, which is useful if you want guest users to sign in automatically without a password.
- Once the local user account is created, click “Assigned access” to set up the device in kiosk mode.
- The next step leads to a pop-up screen where you’ll sign in with the newly-created local account. It’s here that you choose your desired kiosk app, which could be Microsoft Edge or any other UWP app installed on your device. After selecting the kiosk app, you’ll see a “you’re done” screen.
- Restart your Windows device. You should be able to see a clear option for the assigned guest user access in kiosk mode.
- Users can now sign in with a password or be automatically signed in if the password fields were kept blank.
Depending on the purpose of your kiosk, you can further configure your kiosk settings in Administrator mode. We cover three use cases below.
1. Public Computer Kiosk
To enable your device as a guest computer, simply skip the “Assigned access” step in the previous section. As soon as the guest user logs in (with or without the password), the default public computer kiosk is ready. The guest user will only have access to their local desktop. They will be unable to access your main hard drive and its contents.
2. Touchscreen PC Kiosk
To configure your Windows PC as a touchscreen PC kiosk, go back to the Administrator login screen.
In Windows 10, go to “Settings -> Change Additional Tablet Settings” and turn “Tablet mode” on.
You can manually add or remove the apps you want displayed in the touchscreen desktop. Once the kiosk user logs in, only your chosen touchscreen apps will be available to them.
3. Captive Portal Kiosk
For a captive portal in kiosk mode, follow the below instructions:
- Install the Kiosk Browser app. Only enable Assigned access with this app.
- Enter the website name you want reflected in the captive portal.
- The kiosk mode is shown as active with a captive portal.
- To exit the captive portal mode, you can enter Win + L or Ctrl + Alt + Del.
How to Disable Kiosk Mode in Windows
It’s easy to disable kiosk mode. For that, you can go back to “Assigned access” and click “Remove kiosk.”
If the kiosk user is not visible on your Administrator account, the above step will not work. In that case, use the Command Prompt to quickly delete the local account associated with the kiosk. Type:
Identify the kiosk user account and enter the following to remove it:
You should see a message that reads “The command completed successfully.”
Windows 10 Kiosk Software
Apart from the native Windows 10 kiosk mode, you can implement third-party Windows kiosk software that support many commercial features. Some of the popular examples are:
- Scalefusion: Windows 10 Mobile Device Management (MDM)
- ManageEngine: Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Windows
- Kioware for Windows: an open-source kiosk management solution with barcode reader, and multiple monitor support
Troubleshooting Windows 10 Kiosk Mode
1. Why can’t I see the Windows kiosk user account after adding it?
After the local kiosk user account is added, you may not see it reflected on the “Family & other users” screen. This is not a problem, as you can still enable kiosk mode on the device.
Try creating the same local user account once again. It will show an error that reads: “Please type a different username.” You can always view all the user accounts on your Windows PC using Command Prompt.
2. How do I fix a frozen or stuck screen in Windows kiosk mode?
If your screen is frozen or stuck in Windows kiosk mode, you can use Ctrl + Alt + Del to get out of the kiosk, and back to the Administrator account. If you’re stuck in a browser mode, use Ctrl + W to turn it off. For those using Tablet mode, you will need to attach a keyboard that works with the kiosk.
3. How can I prevent other users from tampering with my Windows kiosk?
During an event, you can’t always keep an eye on the kiosk. To prevent your computer from being shut down via the Power button, go to “Control panel -> Hardware and Sounds -> Power options.” Change the “When I press the power button” action to “Do Nothing” for both battery and plugged-in statuses.
The above are valid troubleshooting steps for some of the common Windows 10 kiosk mode problems. But what do you do if Windows itself fails to start? Follow our tips to get your device up and working. If you’re looking for more, check out how to customize Windows using various app docks.
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