Software

How to create a Windows 10-based kiosk with Assigned Access

The Assigned Access feature lets you configure a kiosk so that only one app is available. Here's how it works in Windows 10.

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Image: iStockphoto.com/kieferpix


A kiosk provides a great way to display information about your company and its products or services. You can also use a kiosk to limit access to a certain application. In Windows 10, the Assigned Access feature allows you to easily configure a system so that the user has access to just a single Windows app. This could be any native Windows 10 app, a Windows app from the Windows Store, or a custom app you have created and side loaded on a Windows 10 system.

In this article, I show how to set up and use the Assigned Access feature. This feature is available only in Windows 10 Pro, Education, and Enterprise.

SEE: Having trouble upgrading to Windows 10? Microsoft releases free tool to ease the way

Create a local account

To use the Assigned Access feature, you must begin by creating a local account. Microsoft has made it difficult to create a local account, and you have to jump though several hoops to get to that point.

First, select the Start button and click Settings. When the Settings screen appears, click the Accounts tile. In the Accounts window, select the Family & Other People tab, as shown in Figure A. Then click the Add Someone Else To This PC.

Figure A

Figure A
You'll begin at the Family & Other People tab.

Now, you'll be prompted to set up a new user account using an email address as a username. However, look toward the bottom of the screen and click the I Don't Have This Person's Sign-In Information link, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Figure B
You'll then be forced to play dumb.

When you see the Let's Create Your Account screen, click the Add A User Without A Microsoft Account link, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Figure C
One more hoop to jump through.

Finally, you get to the Create An Account For This PC screen, as shown in Figure D, where you can create a local account. Here, you can enter a user name and, if you want, set up a password. Click Next to complete the procedure.

Figure D

Figure D
Finally, you'll be able to create a local account.

Log in to the local account

You need to log in to the new local account at least once to be able to set it up with Assigned Access. When you do, Windows will set up the account and install all the base apps. If you don't log in, you won't be able to select any apps for Assigned Access.

Once you log in, you'll have to install the app you want to use for Assigned Access if it isn't already installed. For my example, I'm going to use the MSN Weather app, which is installed by default.

Configure Assigned Access

After you create a local account and log in to it once, you're ready to configure Assigned Access. Start by signing out of the local account and then sign back in to your administrator account.

Now, return to the Accounts > Family & Other People screen. Select the Set Up Assigned Access link under the Other People heading, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E

Figure E
Once you have a local account set up, you're ready to configure Assigned Access.

When you see the Set Up Assigned Access screen, you'll be prompted to choose an account and an app. To begin, click Choose An Account. You'll see a popup that displays the local account you just set up. Select that account. Next, click Choose An App and you can select any of the available apps. These steps are illustrated in Figure F.

Figure F

Figure F
From the Set Up Assigned Access screen, you'll choose a local account and a single app.

When you're finished, you'll see your Assigned Access account. In my example, the Assigned Access account looks like the one in Figure G. At this point, you can close the Accounts app window.

Figure G

Figure G
For my Assigned Access account, I selected the MSN Weather app.

Work with an Assigned Access account

Now you can test out your Assigned Access account. First, restart Windows 10 and select your Assigned Access account from the Sign On screen. The app you selected will immediately appear. You'll see that the app window doesn't have minimize, maximize, or close buttons. You'll be able to use all the features that the app makes available—but that's it. You won't be able to access anything else, including the Start menu or desktop.

When you're finished using the app, you can walk away from the PC or you can sign off from your Assigned Access account by pressing [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Del]. You'll find yourself back at the Sign On screen, where you can sign back on to your real account or sign back on to your Assigned Access account.

It's important to remember that when you sign off from an Assigned Access account by pressing [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Del], the account actually remains open. The [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Del] procedure acts more like locking Windows than signing off from the account.

If you want to actually close down the Assigned Access account, you must do so from your real account. To do so, access Task Manager, select the Users tab, right-click the Assigned Access account, and then select Sign Off, as shown in Figure H.

Figure H

Figure H
You'll have to explicitly sign off from the Assigned Access account from Task Manager.

SEE: Windows 10: As momentum slows, will business rollouts follow?

Disabling the Assigned Access account

If you decide you no longer need the Assigned Access account, you can disable it. Just return to the Family & Other People screen, click the Set Up Assigned Access link, and select your Assigned Access account. When you see the popup, click the Don't Use Assigned Access link, as shown in Figure I.

Figure I

Figure I
You can disable your Assigned Access account when you no longer need it.

What's your take?

Have you ever wanted to set up a PC as a kiosk? Will you give this feature a shot? Share your thoughts with fellow TechRepublic members.

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About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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