If you know someone will be temporarily using your PC, it's important you secure it properly. For this, you can create a Windows 10 guest account. If you wish, you can then lock it down further with Windows 10 assigned access, also known as kiosk mode.
While you can't enable the guest account from the Control Panel like you used to, there is a workaround. You can create a new guest account via Command Prompt or the Local User and Groups tool.
A guest account brings some restrictions that are handy if you don't trust the person using your PC. They will be unable to change settings, for example, install apps, or access your private files.
What is kiosk mode/assigned access?
Windows 10 kiosk, or assigned access, lets you limit a user's use of your PC to a single app. This is often used for digital signs, self-service machines, or in libraries. You could, for example, allow your guest to only access the browser.
We'll dive into Kiosk in Windows 10 a bit later, but for now, let's look at guest accounts:
How to Add a Windows Guest Account in Command Prompt
If you're a Windows 10 Home user, the easiest way to add a guest account in Windows 10 is the Command Prompt. If you have Windows 10 Pro, though, check out the Local Users and Groups section below for a more intuitive experience.
- Open Command Prompt as an admin
Press Start and type “Command Prompt”, then click “Run as administrator” on the right-hand side.
- Enter the net user /add user command
In your Command Prompt window, type the following command and press Enter:
net user Visitor /add
You can switch out Visitor for any name you like if you're creating multiple accounts.
- Remove the new account from the users group
To ensure the account doesn't have the same permissions as a regular account, we need to remove it from the “Users” group. This will ensure whoever uses it can't make unauthorized changes to your system. Type the following and press Enter:
net localgroup Users Visitor /delete
Remember to switch out “Visitor” for your username of choice if you chose something different in the previous step.
- Add the Windows 10 guest account to the guests group
Of course, you still want your visitor to be able to perform basic tasks. As it is, they have been removed from all groups and would struggle to use the OS. Thankfully, there's already a “Guests” group built into Windows 10. Add your new user to this group with:
net localgroup Guests Visitor /add
There you have it. With a few simple commands, your guest account is all set up. Don't forget to add a password if the account needs one.
How to Add a Guest Account in Local Users and Groups
If your OS version is Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education, you can use the Local Users and Groups tool for a UI-based guest setup.
- Open the Local Users and Groups manager
Press Ctrl + R to open the Run dialog and type “lusrmgr.msc” in its field. Press “OK”.
- Create your guest account on Windows 10
In lusmgr, click the “Users” folder on the left-hand side, then on the right side press “More Actions > New User…”. This will create a new guest account on your local Windows 10 install.
- Give the new user a name, description, and password
You can do this in the “New User” pop-up. We're going to call ours “Visitor” and note that it's a guest account. Click “Create” when you're done.
- Double-click your new Windows 10 guest account
- Remove the guest account from the users group
In the “Other Properties” pop-up, click the “Member Of” tab and then “Users” from the list. Press the “Remove” button. This will stop them from being able to perform the actions of a regular user.
- Add the user to a new group
Still in the “Member Of” tab, press “Add..”.
- Add your Windows guest account to the Guests group
In the “Select Groups” window, find the field labeled “Enter the object names to select”. Type “Guests” and then press “OK”. This will give them the ability to perform a limited set of actions on your PC.
- Press ‘OK' again
How to use Assigned access (Kiosk mode) in Windows 10
Now that you have your guest account set up, you can further restrict its usage using Assigned access, also known as Kiosk mode. With this tool, you can ensure they'll only be able to use a single app.
However, you should be aware that there is no Kiosk mode in Windows 10 Home. You need Windows 10 Pro or higher. Thankfully, you can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for as little as $5 using a handy trick. Here's how to enable it if you do have a compatible version:
- Open settings
Press the Start button, then hit the settings cog above the power button.
- Click ‘Accounts'
- Open the Windows 10 Assigned access menu
You can do so by clicking “Family & other users” and then “Assigned access” under the “Set up a kiosk” menu.
- Click ‘Get started' to set up your Windows 10 kiosk
- Press ‘Choose an existing account'
- Choose your guest account and press ‘Next'
- Choose an app to use with Microsoft Kiosk
You can choose from any of your Windows 10 apps. Click “Next” once you've chosen.
- Press ‘Close'
Remember that you can exit Kiosk mode at any time with Ctrl + Alt + Delete.