Windows Kiosk Mode vs. Kiosk Software

A common question I hear from new clients is “why would I want to use kiosk software when I can just use kiosk mode in Windows 8 (aka Assigned Access)?”

This is a fair question, so I’m going to explain the limitations of Windows Kiosk Mode and when there is a need for kiosk software.

The short answer is that kiosk software makes up for the short comings in Windows Kiosk Mode and adds an additional layer of security and ease of use to get you up and running quickly without all the headaches.

Our kiosk software is designed to be so simple that no nerd degree is required.

secure kiosk software

Windows Kiosk Mode (aka Assigned Access)

Windows Assigned Access is a feature which lets you restrict a specific standard account to using only one Windows Store app. For example, you can restrict customers at your business to using one app so your PC acts like a kiosk.

Whenever someone signs in with the specified account, they’ll only be able to use that one app. They won’t be able to switch apps or close the app using touch gestures, a mouse, the keyboard, or hardware buttons. They also won’t see any app notifications.

In a self-service kiosk environment you might select Internet Explorer as your one app to run and point that at your kiosk application website.

Unfortunately, there are several limitations to Windows Kiosk Mode that will cause big problems, particularly in an unattended kiosk environment…

  • Malicious users can potentially access the operating system, manipulate files, steal customer data in a number of ways.  See my article on kiosk hacking.
  • Users can browse to ANY website since there’s no ability to restrict the browser to certain websites
  • Printing will popup the print dialog box, thereby confusing users and compromising security
  • Downloading malicious files can corrupt the operating system and compromise user data
  • System shortcuts like CTRL-ALT-DEL are not blocked, giving the attacker the ability to disrupt your kiosk and compromise security
  • No support for payment devices (bill acceptors, credit card readers, etc…)

Kiosk Software, An Alternative To Windows Kiosk Mode

Kiosk Software is designed to address these shortcomings with Windows Kiosk Mode.

In addition to security improvements, kiosk software also provides ease of use features to get even the non-technical folks up and running quickly.

The major benefits of using kiosk software include…

Easy of Use: convert your website into a self-service kiosk in minutes

Filtering System Keystrokes: Block system keystrokes like CTRL-ALT-DEL right out of the box without messing with group polices

Onscreen Keyboard: Attractive onscreen keyboard that can be “skinned” to match your colors and theme

Control the User Experience: Restrict the web browser to only the websites you want to load and prevent malicious users from tampering with the operating system.

Support for Common Payment Devices: Easily add support for popular payment devices like bill acceptors, credit card readers and more using our developer friendly JavaScript API.

Displays Ads While Kiosk Is Idle: While the kiosk is idle you can display ads or a screen saver.

Automatic Log In: Automatically log into a limited access user account when Windows first starts.  This is useful incase your kiosk unexpectedly reboots.

Block Windows Dialogs: Block unwanted dialog boxes to avoid distracting users or compromising security.  For example if the user clicks on an email address KioskSimple will block the default email application from launching.

Health Monitoring: Ensure that your kiosk is always running smoothly.  If k

Diagnostic Logging: Logging is useful for troubleshoot and development

Automatic Reboot/Restart: Automatically restart Windows to help keep things fresh

Where Can I Find Kiosk Software?

We created KioskSimple because of the shortcomings of group policy and the learning curve involved.

KioskSimple is designed to get you up and running quickly without all of the headaches of learning group policy plus offers security features that cannot be easily replicated by group policy.

Here’s an example of how simple it can be to run your web browser in kiosk mode in just a few easy steps with KioskSimple.

Please try a Free demo of KioskSimple today and contact us if you have any questions.

Andrew Savala
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Author: Andrew Savala

Andrew Savala is the CEO of RedSwimmer, with a background in designing and deploying complex payment kiosk systems. Andrew offers high-value, strategic consulting services to companies looking to develop their payment kiosks.

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