One of the most important rules of Windows 10 user management is to use a strong password for your account. Do not share your password with other PC users, especially if they have their own Microsoft accounts. If they don’t, you can set up Windows 10 without a Microsoft account if they’re going to be using your PC frequently.
However, for guest users, you probably don’t want to create a completely new account every time. Instead, you can set up a dedicated Windows 10 guest account. This account has limited access to settings, but allows users to run pre-installed software and access the Internet.
Why use a Windows 10 guest account
Previous versions of Windows offered a dedicated guest account as a standard feature. This was in the days when portable devices like smartphones and tablets weren’t a reality yet, so it was more convenient to share a computer with friends or family.
Unfortunately Microsoft has deprecated this feature for Windows 10. To create a Windows 10 guest account, you need to create a standard local account (not associated with any Microsoft account) and set up the correct user conditions to prevent administrative access, such as the ability to install new applications or change system settings.
This is important because not everyone has their own computer or mobile device. You may be visited by family members who need internet access but don’t want to share your account. Alternatively, you can be a business owner who needs a PC with a limited account available to guests.
Since there is no built-in guest account for Windows 10 users, you’ll have to improvise. By following the instructions below, you can create a default local Windows 10 user account and put it in the Restricted Guest User Permissions group.
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Once this local account is created, you will be able to erase your profile data every time it is used. This means no data is persisted between users, providing a secure sandbox for your guests that remains isolated from your own settings and data.
Create a Windows 10 Guest Account
As we mentioned, creating a guest account in Windows 10 involves creating a local user account and restricting access to it by adding it to the Guests user group. You can do this using the Windows PowerShell tool.
To do this:
- Right-click the Windows Start menu and select the Windows PowerShell (Admin) option.
- In a new PowerShell window, type net user guestuser / add / active: yes and press Enter. This will create a new local user account named guestuser. You can replace guestuser with a different username, but you cannot use guest as this is a forbidden phrase.
- You will need to set a password for your guest account. To do this, type net user guestuser * and press Enter. Replace guestuser with your username. If you want to add a password, enter it in the next step, otherwise press the Enter key on your keyboard twice to confirm that the account does not have a password.
- By default, new users are added to the standard user group (Users). You will need to remove the guest account from it by typing net localgroup users guestuser / delete to delete it.
- After the guest account is removed from the Users user group, it must be added to the Guests user group. This is a user group that is not typically used in Windows 10, but users in this group have limited access to system settings and cannot install or uninstall software. To do this, enter net localgroup guest guestuser / add.
- Once you have created a new guest user account and logged in to the Guests user group, you will need to log in to completely create a user profile. You can sign out of your current account by right-clicking the Start menu and clicking the Shut Down button or Sign Out> Sign Out.
Your new Windows 10 guest account will appear on the login screen and you (and your guests) can start using it.
Reset the user profile for a Windows 10 guest account
At this point, your new Windows 10 guest account should be ready to use. However, as with any regular user account, any changes made to it will be saved for the next user.
Since the guest account is usually used by different people, you need to reset the user profile after each use. One way to do this (if your computer is for guest use only) is to use software like Reboot Restore Rx to create a frozen PC installation. This software blocks any changes on your computer, restoring the previous state on every restart.
However, this is only useful for Windows PCs that are meant for guest use. If you are using the same computer as guest users, you will need to manually reset the guest account user profile after each use. This can be done in the System Properties menu.
- First you need to open the Run dialog box. To do this, press Windows Key + R or right-click the Start menu and select Run.
- In the Run dialog box, enter systempropertiesadvanced and click OK to start. The System Properties menu opens.
- On the Advanced tab in the System Properties menu, click the Settings button under User Profiles.
- Your user accounts will be listed in the user profiles window. Select a user profile for your guest account, then click the Delete button.
- You will need to confirm that you want to delete the user profile. Click Yes in the Confirm Delete field to confirm this choice.
When you delete the user profile for your Windows 10 guest account, all changes made to it (including changing the desktop background, any previous browser history, etc.) will be erased. The next time the guest user logs in, the profile will be restored, making it look like a completely new user account.
Create a Windows 10 PC that is guest safe
With a dedicated guest account on your Windows 10 PC, you no longer need to worry about offering your own account for friends, family, guests, etc. These accounts have limited access, but your guests can use them to basic web browsing or to run already installed applications or games.
If your guests bring their own devices, keep the rest of your family safe by limiting access to your connection. Many home network routers support a guest networking feature that allows limited connectivity for guest devices. If you want to restrict access to a single app, you can set up Windows 10 in kiosk mode instead.