You may be using an administrator account for yourself on your PC, but you may not trust someone else to do this.
Whether you want to keep an eye on your children's computer use or make a computer easier for a loved one, locking parts of Windows is helpful. Even if you lock your PC when you are not using it, accessing other user accounts can be a problem.
Let's look at different ways to lock user accounts in Windows 10.
Use standard accounts and user account control
The easiest way to restrict an account's permissions is to make it a standard account. These restricted accounts can run software and change settings that don't affect other users but don't have complete control.
For example, a standard account cannot install software, change Internet connection settings, or change system time.
Visit to change an account's permissions Settings> Accounts.
On the Family & other users On the tab below, click an account name Other users, then press the Change account type Button. So you can choose between Administrator and Standard user.
If you need to create a new account, click Add someone else to this PC. Follow the steps to sign in with a Microsoft account (if desired) and choose when prompted for the account type Standard user.
If you are talking about user accounts, you should be familiar with User Account Control (UAC), a Windows feature that you can use to run programs only as an administrator when needed. For a standard account, you must enter an administrator password in User Account Control to perform administrator actions such as installing software or changing system-wide settings.
Administrators only have to confirm a prompt to do so. This means that you should make sure that your computer is locked when you are not using it. Read our explanations on user account control and administrator rights
User account control and administrator rights in Windows 10
for more informations.
Use the Microsoft Family Group
Standard accounts are great if you don't want other people to mess around with your PC's settings. However, they are not responsible for the unique challenge of protecting children when using a computer. To do this, try the Microsoft "Family Group" function in Windows 10.
First go back to Settings> Accounts> Family and Other Users. You can set up a new child account on your PC. If you click, however, this is a little easier Manage family settings online to open the Microsoft Family Safety page. Sign in with your Microsoft account to continue.
If this is your first time setting up, click Create a family group Button. You will then be asked to add a user to your family.
Choose member and enter the email address or cell phone number associated with your child’s Microsoft account. Fill out the CAPTCHA and click Send invitation.
If your child does not have a Microsoft account, click Create one for them Link below. You can create a new Microsoft account with the existing email address or create a new account @ Outlook.com Account.
Your child will receive an email with an invitation to join your family group. You must accept this before the family settings take effect. So make sure you do this. After they accept it and log in to their computer with their Microsoft account, you can use the family group options for them.
With the family function, you can also manage your children on Xbox One and Android. However, we are focusing here on Windows 10 devices.
Manage your family group members
Once your child's account has been added to your family group, you can change several options for how your account works. Visit the Microsoft Family Management page to configure this.
Every member of your family is listed there. Choose activity under their name to see which apps your child has used, which websites they have visited, which web searches they have carried out and what screen time they have.
You can see the following items above to manage them:
- Screen time: Here you can choose how much time the person is allowed to spend on the computer and which hours are allowed for use. You can set a time limit from anywhere between 30 minutes and 12 hours. You can also set limits for each day of the week. For example, you can schedule two hours on Fridays, but use them only from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- App and game limits: If you want to set your limits more precisely, you can select certain apps and / or games in this area that you want to restrict. You can see how often your kids use apps on average, and then use settings similar to those in the menu above to choose how much time they can spend and when they're allowed to use the apps.
- Content restrictions: On this page, you can select your child's age to automatically allow content that matches the age group. For example, a 14-year-old can watch PG-13 movies and play video games rated teen or lower.
- You can also choose specific apps and games to always allow or block, including alternate web browsers.
- Finally, you can block inappropriate websites in Microsoft Edge with a slider. If you enable this option, other browsers will be blocked and you can always allow certain websites if you want. For more control, you can only restrict access to an approved list of websites.
- Expenditure: Here you can request your consent for the child to purchase items in the Microsoft Store and send you an email when they purchase something. You can also deposit money into your child's account so they can buy content of their choice.
- Find your child: If your child has an Android device, you can install the Microsoft Launcher app to see where it is.
Use Group Policy optimizations
Group Policy is a tool in Pro Editions of Windows that lets you control all types of account issues. While it is intended for corporate use, Group Policy can make many great improvements
10 ways Windows Group Policy can improve your PC
The required tool is not officially available in home versions of Windows. However, you can use a workaround to install Group Policy Editor on Windows Home and get it for these editions.
Press to access the Group Policy Editor Win + R. to open Run Dialogue and enter gpedit.msc. You then need to navigate to the item you want to change. Double-click to change the status of Not configured to activated or with special needs. Check out some of these improvements to lock Windows:
- Computer Configuration> Administrative Templates> Windows Components> Windows Installer and activate Disable Windows Installer to prevent someone from installing software.
- User Configuration> Administrative Templates> Control Panel, then use Hide hidden Control Panel items to remove some entries Show only specified Control Panel items to create a restricted list, or Prohibit access to the control panel and PC settings to completely remove them.
- User Configuration> Administrative Templates> System contains Prevent access to the command prompt and Prevent access to registry editing tools Experienced users cannot use them as a workaround. Likewise, Don't just run certain Windows applications This option allows you to control which software the user can run.
- User Configuration> Administrative Templates> System> Ctrl + Alt + Del Options With this option you can take away the possibility for the user to change his password, to open the Task Manager, to log out or to lock the PC.
- User Configuration> Administrative Templates> Windows Components> File Explorer can Prevent access to drives from the workplace if you don't want an account to poke around in the file system.
- Computer Configuration> Windows Settings> Security Settings> Account Policies> Password Policy Contains several options that you can use to restrict passwords. to adjust Maximum password age to force users to change their passwords, and Minimum password length Therefore, users cannot use short passwords. Password must meet the complexity requirements Forces passwords to contain at least six characters and contain a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
The Group Policy Editor supports many other optimizations. However, with the above, you can block important Windows functions.
Allow only Microsoft Store apps
Most of the apps on your PC are likely from outside the Microsoft Store. However, if you want to lock an account by blocking the installation of software, you can activate a setting in Windows to only allow software installations from the Microsoft Store.
You can find this under Settings> Apps> Apps & features. Change the dropdown box to above Microsoft Store only to prevent the installation of apps from other sources. Combined with the Group Policy editing described above to block access to the Settings app, your PC should be free of unwanted software.
Compared to conventional desktop software, store apps do not need as many permissions and are therefore more secure for your computer. Check out our comparison of store and desktop apps
Desktop vs. Microsoft Store Apps: Which Should You Download?
For more information.
Try Lockdown Software Tools
If none of the above tasks have been done for you, you may need to contact software that will further lock your Windows PC. Another option can be found in the Deep Freeze Tools, which will reset your PC to a basic snapshot every time you restart.
This app is supposed to lock a PC that acts as a kiosk. Since all common lock options are collected in one place, you can still use it to secure your own PC.
The Welcome On the tab on the left you can choose from two preset profiles: Digital signage player PC and Interactive kiosk terminal. They include settings so you can leave a computer on a table for the public without having to worry about people playing around with it.
If you'd rather adjust these settings yourself, check the Start & shutdown, Continuous operation, and protection and safety Tabs on the left.
You can set a program to start automatically when an account logs in, shuts down the PC at a specific time, disables access to Task Manager, and even hides taskbar icons. Some of these changes affect the entire computer, while others only apply to one user account.
FrontFace is a great way to improve a restricted profile, especially if you don't want to track all settings individually.
Download: FrontFace Lockdown (free)
With this tool, you may need a password to run the apps you specify. You can also choose keywords (such as "Install" and "Set up"). The app will then automatically recognize and block all windows that use these words. You can also easily block certain Windows features like Group Policy Editor.
The app offers a free trial version with a generic password that prevents it from actually providing security. The full version costs $ 19.95 if you choose to buy.
Download: Install Block (Free Trial, $ 19.95)
How do you lock your PC?
These options allow you to limit your computer to almost any level you want. Regardless of whether you want to prevent inexperienced users from installing software or to protect your children when using a computer, you can do so with these tools.
The above tools should suffice in many cases. For more resources for parents, check out the best parental control apps for Windows
The 8 best parental control apps for Windows
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