What is Windows Kiosk Mode? – A Fundamental Elaboration

  • October 13, 2021

Over the years, Microsoft is constantly developing its suite of administrative tools and features. This includes the ability to manage Windows devices in Windows Kiosk mode by businesses. Whilst empowers several businesses to distribute Windows-based business devices among its workforces or for mission-centric purposes on public sites. Kiosk mode feature facilitates businesses to easily manage, maintain, and customize the Windows devices deployed across geographies.

What is Windows Kiosk Mode?
A brief guide to Windows Kiosk Mode

The kiosk mode in Windows, for instance, could be considered among one of the tools that limit the potential of improper usage by the end-users of business-critical devices. The Windows kiosk mode can be utilized for numerous industrial processes, enhancement of customer and employee experience, improvement of data security, and increasing employee productivity at large.

Windows 10 devices are used by many organizations around the globe. Some of the most prominent industries include computer software, information technology, healthcare, education, government, and finance. SMBs and large organizations alike are increasingly embracing Windows 10 devices for a range of reasons, including its versatility, enhanced data security, Cortana assistant, identity management, scalability, and flexibility.

What is Windows Kiosk Mode?

Windows kiosk mode is a lockdown feature for Windows 10 devices that restricts the end-users to access only a single application running on full screen (Digital signage being an example) or multi-app mode wherein the IT admins can enforce predetermined policies, configurations, applications, and documents that are pushed and deployed for end-users to execute mission-critical tasks only.

In other words, it allows companies to ensure greater oversight and control for Windows devices in either of the cases. As a result, kiosks confine access to a single function and minimize behavior that may interfere with the normal functioning of publicly accessible single-purpose devices as deployed by the organizations.

These configurations usually appear or are set up at the point of sale systems at retail stores, interactive directories in outdoor lobby areas, public computers, self-service kiosks at restaurants, self-check-in stations at airports, or advertising signage.

All of these options are aimed at preventing the end-user from leaving the designated app or app(s) and obtaining internal information about the computer – settings, and files (that may be an asset to the company).

This image is to depict the Windows 10 device and how the Kiosk mode enables businesses with ability to manage, monitor and restrict devices when deployed for mission-centric purposes.

The Capabilities of Windows 10 Kiosk mode 

As soon as a Windows 10 computer is turned into a kiosk, the following things can be implemented by an organization based on their business specifications and requirements:

1. Windows 10 devices can act as digital signage: 

Based on the demands of the business, IT admins can lock down the Windows 10 devices remotely into a single app kiosk mode with a particular content/message on loop (multimedia content) and deploy it on public-facing sites for mission-centric purposes (advertising or information-sharing).

2. Windows 10 kiosk browser lockdown:

It is possible to lock down Windows 10 devices into single app mode or multi-app mode with advanced restrictions to browsing or access to browsers. IT admins can configure browsers as such that the end-users can access the browsers only for mission-centric purposes, education, or task execution. This advanced capability of customizing the browser empowers the end-users with access to the internet in a controlled and managed environment.

3. Manage and secure Windows 10 devices: 

IT admins can implement Windows 10 Kiosk software and lock down their Windows 10 devices into Kiosk mode (Single or multi-app); this empowers the IT admins with the ability to remotely monitor, manage and secure the deployed devices, no matter if to the employees or on public sites, with predetermined security configurations and policies; thus ensuring the enhanced productivity of the employees and the security of the end-points.

4. Windows 10 kiosk mode restrictions on data and device usage: 

When Windows 10 devices are locked down into kiosk mode, the end-users are automatically restricted from carrying out/performing any personal tasks on the Windows 10 devices apart from mission-centric purposes as defined by the organizations. Moreover, this feature also diminishes any sort of data tampering, device settings misconfigurations, peripheral buttons, and features misuse.

5. Lockdown for Windows 10 devices in either single or multi-app kiosk mode:

Depending on the specification and usage of the company, Windows 10 devices can be locked down into single or multi-app kiosk modes. This indicates that the end-users or employees accessing corporate-liable devices or Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) can only utilize the predetermined applications or configurations as pushed by the IT admins of an organization.

Table of comparison between Single app mode and Multi app mode:

Now that we are aware of the fact that the Windows 10 devices can be locked down into kiosk mode for mission-centric purposes by the organizations, no matter if that is for public-facing sites or motion of Corporate-liable devices deployment or Bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) motion; it makes us imperative to understand the point of differences between the two kiosk modes in detail. Here is the table of comparison below:

Single app mode Multi app mode
It is possible for only one app (in full screen) to run on the device at a time.  It is possible to run multiple apps on a single device. 
A good option for public use where there is an auto-sign-in capability and a need for high security.  It is ideal for corporate scenarios wherein organizations can deploy corporate-liable devices to their employees and push predetermined policies, configurations & apps, so as to increase their productivity and empower them with the ability to not get distracted by other content or applications.
In general public places, such as in stores, museums, libraries, and guest registration desks, you will often find kiosks such as ones that provide weather updates, devices that show promotional content, and others that run demo routines are some typical examples. In corporate scenarios, such as industries across diversified verticals deploying devices to on-field workers, remote workforces, workers on the go, etc., are some typical examples.

Benefits of Windows 10 Kiosk Mode 

The Windows 10 kiosk devices can be deployed by an organization in several scenarios such as Public-facing sites to design a self-service environment and enhance the user experience of end-users in which customers can gain specific information or take action in a certain way.

ATMs or weight scales, self-service kiosks in bank branches, and ticketing kiosks in public libraries are examples of the type of Windows Kiosk machines that can be found today.

When it comes to corporate scenarios, the use-cases may vary, here are a few points on how a Windows 10 Kiosk solution benefits the corporate scenarios:

  • Streamlining operation of the company
  • Productivity improvements for employees
  • Utilization of data in a cost-effective manner
  • Performance improvements for devices (at each stage of the device’s lifecycle)
  • Enhanced security for corporate data
  • Cost-effective maintenance and support

There are many places where you can find Windows 10 devices such as Airports, Educational Institutes, Libraries, Hospitals, Hotel Front Desks, Bus Stands, Museums, and Retail Stores. Scalefusion Windows MDM provides a powerful set of features that enable administrators to manage and secure Windows 10 devices remotely, addressing many of the daily IT challenges.

Windows Kiosk Mode Use Cases:

The business market continues to be dominated by Microsoft’s Windows OS devices due to their aggressive sales and marketing towards corporations. Most of the companies, regardless of their size, utilize Windows devices – especially desktop PCs – in order to accomplish their daily tasks. The kiosk mode in Windows boasts a wide range of benefits that are applicable in most of the work scenarios as elaborated below.

It is unlikely that you won’t come across a kiosk system running the most prevalent operating system – Windows 10 from Microsoft – and it can be found in any retail store, warehouse, or manufacturing facility. Windows 10 can offer two different kiosk experiences based on whether the devices will be used for public use or for fixed purposes within an organization. Devices can be locked to a single app or multiple apps depending on the situation.

Windows single app kiosk mode is a good option for public access terminals that require a high degree of control. In such limited-security environments, the kiosk application runs in the full screen above the lock screen, and the public (end users) doesn’t have the ability to tab out of it. It may be more appropriate for a Windows device to be set up in multi-app mode in a corporate environment if the device is intended only for business purposes. 

Here are a few industry-based use-case examples and how are these verticals benefitted with Windows 10 Kiosk mode:

1. Self-service Kiosk devices & interactive terminals for public-facing mission

Numerous organizations can deploy Windows Kiosk devices across public-facing sites that can be freely accessible or can be used for mission-centric purposes such as collecting feedbacks, delivering on-demand information, etc., across verticals such as retail shops, libraries, conference rooms, restaurants, etc.  

It should be imperative that the customers should only have access to minimal system features so as to ensure that they don’t get distracted with other contents unauthorized; to realize the fullest potential, Windows system features such as taskbar, task manager, and other settings should be disabled.

Thus, only a limited set of functions can be performed by the end-users: booking a ticket, placing an order for meals, playing games, browsing a specific website, and registering for flights, etc are few examples.


2. Public Information Kiosks

Windows 10 devices can serve as information kiosks that help businesses connect with users and share insights or information that can influence their perception of the benefits the company can provide. In addition to featuring a secured Windows 10 kiosk mode, these information kiosks can be used in advertising, public relations, and marketing. Businesses can grow their business by delivering targeted, relevant information to customers by engaging all of these activities.

3. Education

As a tool for delivering education remotely to students, Windows 10 devices make excellent choices for schools. Most schools limit the number of apps students can use on their Microsoft Windows 10 devices to just a few, like Zoom and Google Classroom, to protect students from distractions and ensure that they are guided in their learning as per the schools’ curriculum. Kiosk lockdown protects Windows 10 devices from being used for social media or games during class time and ensures that students focus on learning.

4. Healthcare

In hospitals and healthcare facilities, Windows 10 devices are used for a range of applications, such as patient check-in, patient surveys, and to provide doctors with patient information. In healthcare, HIPAA compliance is extremely important; it ensures that Protected Health Information (PHI) is properly protected. By keeping these Windows 10 devices under strict kiosk lockdown mode by the hospitals and healthcare institutions, they adhere to the industry’s strict regulations without compromise.

5. POS (Point of Sale) kiosk

The growing popularity of Windows-based Point of Sale (POS) devices among retail businesses, restaurants, and other businesses is due to the affordability and availability of numerous capabilities. Single app mode can be configured by these verticals to enable consumers to take advantage of off-the-shelf Windows devices in a kiosk mode where only the POS app can run, enhancing their user experience. The familiarity of Windows will make the checkout experience pleasant for both store cashiers and self-service customers.

6. Hospitality check-in

Hotel managers dedicate a lot of focus to improving the guest check-in experience. The use of large-screen portable devices, such as Windows devices (in the kiosk mode), is now becoming extremely widespread in hotel lobbies, making checking in a breeze for guests without having to contend with the sometimes rather unpredictable manual process.

Considerations for determining which configuration method to use:

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right configuration method for a business:

  • Account-based

A kiosk account can be created in a variety of ways – some methods are limited to configuration for local users (in general), while others can be used for domain accounts (professional) as well as Azure Active Directory.

  • Use case-based

Kiosk configuration type – Two types of kiosk configurations exist – single app and multi-app.

  • Device-based

The version of Windows 10 – kiosk mode is compatible with Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

Automating the enrollment process for Windows 10 devices

In addition to being quite a task, enrolling and setting up each Windows 10 device in a corporate environment is also a tedious and time-consuming procedure for an IT administrator. The IT administrator can, however, enroll those Windows 10 devices in bulk securely by using the Scalefusion Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, provided it is compatible with Windows 10 (Windows Autopilot) program and supports bulk environment infrastructure.

Windows Autopilot

Nowadays, businesses are moving toward infrastructures that incorporate modern technologies, such as Windows Autopilot, maintain user preference requirements, and ease of use, but they tend to ignore one of the most important aspects of such infrastructures: cognitive load.

Configuring devices with MDM for security and usability is an essential part of Windows 10 deployment for IT teams. To provision devices for work and learning, it takes a team of IT professionals several hours. Therefore, it is crucial to have a Windows 10 device configuration program that allows no manual changes.

IT admins can streamline the provisioning of Windows 10 devices via Scalefusion’s autopilot program that simplifies configuration setup. Scalefusion Windows Autopilot lets IT admins pre-configure Windows10 devices so that the devices are ready to use the moment they are booted up for the first time by end-users. 

In order to ensure the success of the business deployment, Scalefusion Windows Autopilot uses OEM-optimized versions of Windows 10 and does not require any custom drivers and images for users of new devices. The Scalefusion Kiosk solution can be used to manage these Windows 10 devices with predetermined device profiles and policies, thereby reducing IT cognitive workloads to an extent.

Using Scalefusion Kiosk Software to configure Windows 10 devices

Businesses can setup and manage Windows kiosks with kiosk solutions like Scalefusion for business-centric purposes, with the ability to perform complete lockdown on devices so they can’t be tampered with by the end-users. Scalefusion Kiosk enhances the security features of Windows kiosk mode and addresses the shortcomings of that functionality. It is Scalefusion’s aim to make the installation of Windows kiosks as easy as possible for businesses so that they can concentrate on business goals without much IT headache.

By adding a layer of robust functionality that makes up for the lack of power embedded in the traditional Windows kiosk mode from Microsoft, Scalefusion Windows 10 kiosk software is a tamper-proof solution that prioritizes security in addition to enhancing the user experience. 

Scalefusion’s Windows 10 kiosk solution offers the following major benefits:

  • Streamlined business processes are ensured by seamless setup.
  • Enhanced efficiency by reducing capital costs and IT overload work.
  • Maximized employee productivity through enhanced kiosk performance.
  • Monitoring kiosk health remotely to ensure they are working properly.
  • The Windows Autopilot enrollment process for bulk enrollment of Windows 10 devices.
  • Add enhanced security to your device by remotely wiping it remotely (in events of contingencies such as the device being lost, stolen, or is compromised) and tracking its location.
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Closing lines…

In sum, an Kiosk solution that strives to automate the process of enrolling and facilitating a Windows-based kiosk system (as per business specifications) by integrating the most critical component (applications and content) remotely during the set-up process is imperative for IT admins.

With Scalefusion Kiosk Software, organizations can be confident that their mobility needs are met and their deployed Windows device performance is excellent. It is extremely proficient in obtaining the desired results in a timely manner.

Thousands of businesses rely upon Scalefusion for managing their mobile device, desktops, laptops and other endpoints

Ayush Maskara is a Content Writer at Scalefusion. A media science graduate, a photographer, a fiction author, a storyteller, fiction manuscript editor, and an avid self-help reader, Ayush has been penning the creative wisdom for six years and have stepped into the IT domain for further exploration and staying awake with technological trends across the globe.
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