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How to Turn on the Guest Account on Your Windows 8 Tablet

The Start screen’s PC Settings screen on your Windows 8 tablet lets you add several user accounts, handy for letting several people share one tablet. But the PC Settings area won’t let you remove or change accounts. Nor will it let you turn on the Guest account, which is a handy way to let friends or visitors check their e-mail through Internet Explorer.

To change existing accounts or turn on the Guest account, open the desktop’s Control Panel and follow these steps:

  1. Tap the User Accounts and Family Safety category.

    This category opens to show a section for User Accounts, as well as for Family Safety, which lets you set up limited-access accounts for children.

  2. Tap User Accounts, and then tap Manage Another Account.

    The Manage Accounts window lists every account on your tablet.

  3. Tap Guest.

    The settings for the Guest account appear.

  4. Turn on the Guest account by tapping the Turn On button.

    The Guest account is turned on, and subsequently appears as an option on your tablet’s sign-in screen.

To let a friend borrow your tablet, tap Guest from the sign- in screen. (Or tap your user account in the Start screen’s top right corner and choose Guest from the drop-down menu.) Your tablet opens to the Guest account, which offers access to four Start screen apps: Desktop, Internet Explorer, File Explorer, and the Store app.

Guest accounts come with some welcome restrictions that keep your files and your tablet as safe as possible:

  • Guests can’t download apps — paid or free — from the Store, unless they enter a Microsoft account. If you want, you can also type in your own Microsoft account to complete the transaction.

  • Guests can’t install desktop programs or software onto your tablet, nor can they change any of its settings. (The wireless setting will be listed as unavailable, for example, to prevent them from connecting to other wireless networks. If your tablet is already connected to a wireless network, though, your guest can browse using that connection.)

  • The Guest account’s desktop doesn’t include Microsoft Office. If your guest needs Office access, create a Limited account for them, instead, from the PC Settings screen’s Users section.

  • Guests can’t view or copy any of your files. However, they can access anything stored in your library’s Public folders, making those folders a handy way to give everybody access to favorite photos, songs, or movies.

  • Guests can access any of the desktop’s bundled programs, but they can’t access Windows Media Center, if you’ve installed it on your tablet.

  • To keep your tablet as secure as possible, turn off the Guest account when it’s not being used. To turn it off, follow the previous steps, but choose Turn Off Guest Account in Step 4.

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