How to Create a Guest Account in Windows 10

If you want to give family and friends temporary access to your computer, here is how you can do so using a guest account and some third party software.

In earlier versions of Windows, Microsoft included a guest account so you could give temporary access to your PC.  The guest account was limited to basic tasks such as web browsing and erased all data when you ended your session. In Windows 10, the guest account as we used to know it no longer exists. But by accessing some advanced Windows settings and with the help of a third-party program called Rollback Rx, you can roll your own guest account in Windows 10. We’ll show you how.

Set Up a Guest User Account for Temporary Access to Your Windows 10 Device

Microsoft is continuing to deprecate functionality in Windows 10 with each feature update. The built-in Guest account is no longer functional in Windows 10, but if you need to have such an account set up for users who temporarily need access to your computer, then you can create your own with a little bit of work

Before we get to that, lets first start by creating a Local Account. Brian already wrote an excellent article with all the details on how to do that, but one extra step I need you to do is change the account privilege.

After you’ve created a new local account, press Windows key + R.

Type: control userpasswords2 then hit Enter.

Select the guest account we created then click Properties.

Select the Group membership tab, select the Other list box then choose Guests.

Click Apply then OK, click Apply then OK again.

We now have our guest account set up and pretty much most of the functionality of a guest account is working.

This guest account covers our bases in terms of making a temporary account with limited privileges on your  Windows 10 PC. The only missing piece now is the ability to automatically delete files and settings on the guest account after they are done. For that, we’ll need some third-party software.

Download and Install Rollback Rx Home

One of the activities we want to prevent is a guest user saving files anywhere in the account or saving passwords to sites they log into. This is where Rollback Rx Home comes in. This free utility lets you restore a user account to its original state after a reboot. The software comes packaged in a 10 MB zipped file and requires that you register to download it. After doing so, you will be sent a confirmation email with a link to download. So, there is a little bit of a hurdle involved to get it. But once you have it, it’s smooth sailing.

After downloading, extract the zip file, then open the Rollback Home Rx folder.

Launch the appropriate setup file for your system. I am running 64 bit Windows 10, so I will double-click x64 setup file. Follow the on-screen instructions.

When setup is complete, you will be prompted to restart. Proceed to do so.

Create Snapshot

When someone wants to use your system, this is all you need to do.

First, right-click the Rollback Rx icon in the Notification area then click New Snapshot.

Enter a name and description of the snapshot then click Next.

Wait while the snapshot is created then click Finish. Proceed to give access to the device and let the user log into the guest account we created earlier.

Rollback Changes

When the user has ended their session, sign into your Administrator account,  right-click the Rollback Rx icon in the Notification area then click Rollback System.

Select the snapshot we created. You can also take a snapshot if you want to undo the rollback. I unchecked it to save space. But keep in mind, if you switch back forth during this time, say to update figures in a spreadsheet, changes you make could be lost if you don’t keep the snapshot. With Rollback Rx, the assumption here is that you won’t be using the computer at the same time that the guest is.

Review changes and remember, any important changes made after the snapshot will be lost. Click Restart and wait while your system is restored.

That’s it, your system is now back to where it was and you have a pristine guest account ready the next time someone wants to use your device. It’s not perfect like the old guest account, but for those times you need to lend your PC to a friend or family member and you don’t want them to leave anything behind, this can be quite handy.

Give it a try and tell us what you think in the comments. If you have any suggestions for alternatives you prefer, we would love to hear.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. David F

    October 31, 2020 at 8:45 am

    Its possible to force it into a temporary profile which means you wont need third party software. Simply disable the account (ie net user /active:no), where is the name of the profile which is your “guest” account. Then restart the PC. Then delete the folder in C:users (normally windows blocks you, but if you do the earlier steps it will let you without issue). Then re-enable the account (net user /active:yes) and then sign in. Windows will fail to load the profile as its folder is missing and will force you into a temp profile. It will do this until either the account is deleted, or you revert it back to permanent.

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