Blue's Clues: Enabling Kiosk Mode

Over the weekend, a newer build (9374) of Windows 8.1 -- Microsoft's incremental update to Windows 8 -- leaked. One of the new features that surfaced in this build is something called "Kiosk mode".

Kiosk mode, in a nutshell, is a mode that, when turned on, keeps a single "Metro" application on the foreground at all times. (This application is run in a limited user context for obvious security reasons.) It's unclear if we'll see desktop application support -- my guess is no, given desktop apps have a much richer set of (uncontrolled) APIs available to them. For more, check out Paul Thurrott's "Blue's Clues: Kiosk Mode" article.

A cursory examination of Kiosk mode would lead you (like many tech bloggers) to believe the feature is broken in this build of Windows. But this is not the case. In fact, enabling Kiosk mode is easy but admittedly non-intuitive. Here's how:

  1. Create a limited user. You can do this PC Settings, Users, User accounts, then Add a user. (I recommend a Local Account but you can use a Microsoft account.)

  2. Log in as the limited user. You can switch to the newly created user by clicking your Start Screen user tile. (You'll have to sit through the welcome tour again, sorry.)
  3. Log out of the limited user.
  4. Switch back to your normal account and configure Kiosk mode with the new account and preferred foreground app -- Bing is a good one.
  5. Log in as your limited user. Your app should load immediately.