Kiosk Mode in Windows: A Comprehensive Guide

What is Kiosk Mode in Windows? Learn how to configure and enable kiosk mode in Windows 11 for enhanced security and simplified user experience.
Windows Kiosk Mode


Kiosk mode in Windows is a feature that enables a computer or device to run a single application or a specific set of applications in a restricted environment. This mode is particularly useful in public-facing settings such as retail stores, libraries, schools, and other environments where controlled access to applications and system settings is crucial.

In this article, we will explore kiosk mode in Windows, its benefits, and how to configure and enable it in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

What is Kiosk Mode in Windows

Kiosk mode transforms a Windows device into a dedicated kiosk that runs only the applications you specify. This can be a single app, such as a web browser or a custom app designed for specific tasks. The primary goal of kiosk mode is to provide a controlled and secure user experience, preventing access to the underlying operating system and other applications.

Benefits of Kiosk Mode

  1. Enhanced Security: By restricting access to a single application or a set of applications, kiosk mode significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access and potential security breaches.
  2. Simplified User Experience: Users interact with a simplified interface tailored to specific tasks, which can enhance productivity and reduce confusion.
  3. Maintenance and Management: Kiosk mode can reduce the need for IT intervention, as users cannot access or alter system settings, install new software, or make unauthorized changes.
  4. Versatility: Kiosk mode can be used in various scenarios, including digital signage, self-service terminals, point-of-sale systems, and educational tools.

Kiosk Mode in Windows 11

Windows 11, the latest iteration of Microsoft's operating system, continues to support and improve upon the kiosk mode feature. Configuring kiosk mode in Windows 11 is straightforward, thanks to the updated settings interface and enhanced management tools.

Configuring Kiosk Mode in Windows

To configure kiosk mode in Windows 11, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings: Click on the Start menu, select "Settings" or press Windows + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Accounts: Go to "Accounts" in the Settings app and then select "Family & other users."
  3. Set Up a Kiosk: Scroll down to the "Set up a kiosk" section and click "Assigned access."
  4. Create a Kiosk Account: Click on "Get started" and follow the prompts to create a new local account for the kiosk.
  5. Choose an App: After creating the kiosk account, select the application you want to run in kiosk mode. You can choose from a list of installed applications, including Microsoft Edge, commonly used for web-based kiosks.
  6. Configure Settings: Depending on the chosen application, you may need to configure additional settings, such as specifying a home page for Microsoft Edge.

Enabling Kiosk Mode in Windows

Once you have configured the kiosk settings, enabling kiosk mode is as simple as signing in to the kiosk account:

  1. Sign Out: You can sign out of your current account by clicking on your profile picture in the Start menu and selecting "Sign out."
  2. Sign In to the Kiosk Account: On the sign-in screen, select the kiosk account you created. The device will automatically launch the specified application in kiosk mode.

Managing Kiosk Mode

After setting up and enabling kiosk mode, you might need to manage and maintain the kiosk environment. Here are some tips for effective kiosk management:

  1. Automatic Sign-In: Configure the kiosk account to sign in automatically upon device startup. This can be done through the settings or using a local group policy.
  2. Windows Updates: Ensure the device receives regular updates to maintain security and functionality. You can schedule updates during off-hours to minimize disruption.
  3. Remote Management: Utilize remote management tools to monitor and manage your kiosk devices. This is especially useful for managing multiple kiosks across different locations.
  4. User Data Protection: Configure the kiosk to clear user data and reset settings between sessions to protect user privacy and ensure a consistent experience for each new user.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

While kiosk mode in Windows is generally reliable, you might encounter some issues during setup or use. Here are some common problems and their solutions:

  1. Application Crashes: If the kiosk application crashes or fails to launch, ensure that it is up-to-date and compatible with Windows 11. If problems persist, consider reinstalling the application.
  2. Network Connectivity: If your kiosk relies on an internet connection, ensure the network settings are correctly configured and the device maintains a stable connection.
  3. Access to Settings: If users can access system settings or other applications, double-check your kiosk configuration and ensure the correct restrictions are in place.
  4. Performance Issues: Ensure that the device meets the hardware requirements for the chosen application and that no other background processes are affecting performance.

Advanced Kiosk Mode Features

For more advanced kiosk setups, Windows 11 offers additional features and customization options:

  1. Multi-App Kiosk Mode: You can configure the kiosk to run multiple applications instead of a single app. This is useful for scenarios where users need access to limited tools.
  2. Custom Shell: To provide a more tailored user experience, replace the standard Windows shell with a custom shell. This requires advanced configuration and scripting.
  3. Group Policies: Use Group Policy settings to enforce more granular control over kiosk devices. This is particularly useful for enterprise environments.

Final Thoughts

Kiosk mode in Windows is a powerful feature that can transform a standard device into a secure, dedicated tool for specific tasks. Whether you're setting up a self-service kiosk, a digital signage display, or a point-of-sale terminal, kiosk mode provides the security, simplicity, and control needed to ensure a smooth and reliable user experience.

Following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily configure and enable kiosk mode in Windows 11, ensuring that your devices are ready to serve their intended purpose effectively. Consider leveraging remote management tools and group policies to maintain a secure and efficient kiosk environment for ongoing management.