In Windows, while you can create guest user accounts to give limited access to other non-administrator users, you might not be aware that these guest user accounts still have ample privileges to modify the system. In Windows 8, Microsoft introduced a new feature called “Assigned Access” (also known as “Kiosk mode”), and using it allows an administrator to lock down a user to only using a single specific modern application. This feature is much like a Kiosk and comes without any risk for compromising Windows security.
Note: Assigned Access feature is only available in Windows 8 Professional and Enterprise versions.
What is Assigned Access
Assigned Access is a restriction placed on a user account so that the user is limited to using a single specific modern app selected by the administrator. The user cannot close the app and cannot access other parts of the computer. Since all the modern apps are sandboxed, anything a user does stays inside the app. Assigned Access acts just like a Kiosk. That being said, Assigned Access can’t be used with the regular desktop apps since they require a higher level of privileges. Moreover, you cannot assign any modern app that can modify system files and settings (like file managers, PC settings, etc.) as that would defy the purpose of Assigned Access.
Creating a New User Account
Before enabling the Assigned Access feature, you need to have a standard user account. If you don’t already have one, follow along to create a new one. To create a new user account in Windows 8, press “Win + C” and go to “Settings -> Change PC Settings”.
The above action will open the PC Settings window. Click on the “Accounts” tab. Now select the “Other Accounts” tab and click on the button “Add an account.”
Since we need a local account, select the bottom link “Sign in without a Microsoft account.”
Now fill in all the details and click on the “Next” button to complete the user account creation process.
Log out of your current session and log in to the newly created user account. You need to log in to the newly created account at least once for Windows to configure the account with all the apps and desktop personalizations. If the app you want to assign is a third-party app, then install the app here while you are in the newly created account.
Enabling Assigned Access in Windows 8
To enable the Assigned Access feature, you need to have administrator permission. Log in again to the administrator account, open “PC Settings” and navigate to the “Accounts” tab. Click on the “Other Accounts” tab and click on the link “Set up an account for assigned access.”
In this screen click on the “Choose an account” button and select the user account you just created.
Click on the button “Choose an app” and select the app you want to limit the user to.
That’s all there is to do. From here onward the selected user can only access the app you have chosen.
On a side note, you can also set up the automatic login feature for this account so that the Windows boots into kiosk mode automatically.
Do leave a comment below if you have difficulty enabling the Assigned Access feature in Windows 8.