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Windows Hello: How to log in to Windows with your face or fingerprint

Windows Hello: How to log in to Windows with your face or fingerprint

When you log on to Windows, a password is the default option. But it can be difficult to remember a strong and complex password. Instead, try biometric technologies through the Windows Hello feature in Windows 10 and Windows 11. However, before you can set this up, you’ll need to make sure your hardware supports the ability to scan your face or fingerprint. How to drop your password and get started with Windows Hello.


Set up a PIN code

Select Windows Hello PIN

Before you can enable fingerprint or face recognition, you must create a PIN to sign in to Windows. To do this in Windows 10, go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. Select Windows Hello PIN and click Add.

Enter and confirm the PIN code

Click Next, and then authenticate your account by entering your password (or using another authentication method). You can then enter your PIN code. By default, the PIN code can only contain numbers.

If you want to use letters or special characters or see the requirements for a PIN code, check the box next to it Include letters and symbols. You can then click on PIN requirement link if you wish. Enter and confirm the PIN, then click OK. You’ll be told that your PIN is set up to sign in to Windows, apps, and services.

Select PIN (Windows Hello)

To set up your PIN in Windows 11, go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options and choose PIN code (Windows Hello)and then click on Set up button. Click Nextand then authenticate your account.

Enter and confirm the PIN code

Check the box next to it Include letters and symbols if you want to use more than just numbers. You can then click on PIN requirement link if you wish. Enter and confirm the PIN code and click OK.

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Set up fingerprint recognition

fingerprint scanner

(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)

Many laptops come with fingerprint readers that work with Windows Hello. If you’re buying a new laptop, just check the features on the list to see if a fingerprint reader is built into the device and if it’s compatible with Windows Hello. If your laptop has a fingerprint scanner, see the specifications in the user guide.

For a desktop computer or laptop without a built-in fingerprint reader, you can add an external device. Many vendors sell fingerprint scanners that plug into a USB port, or that are built into external devices such as the keyboard. Your best bet is to run a search on an online retail site, such as Amazon, for “fingerprint readers(Opens in a new window)“,” “fingerprint scanners(Opens in a new window)” or “Windows Hello fingerprint(Opens in a new window).”

Using an internal fingerprint reader is just a matter of making sure it’s enabled in the BIOS. Using an external reader with your desktop or laptop computer is usually a plug-and-play process. In either case, the PC should just recognize the reader and let it work in Windows.

Click on the Windows Hello Fingerprint setting

To configure the fingerprint reader in Windows 10, go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in optionsselect accordingly Windows Hello fingerprint and click on Set up button. Read the Welcome to Windows Hello screen and click the link for Learn more if you want to find out more about Windows Hello.

Set up fingerprints

click on Got started button, then enter your PIN. Now tap on the fingerprint scanner. Follow the instructions to lift and rest your finger until setup is complete.

Add another fingerprint

When you’re done, you’ll be told that you can use your fingerprint the next time you want to unlock your device. At this point you can add another fingerprint if you wish.

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Click on the fingerprint recognition (Windows Hello) setting

To configure the fingerprint reader in Windows 11, go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in optionsand then click on Fingerprint recognition (Windows Hello) button.

Follow the steps to list and rest your finger

click on Set up button, and then select Got started and enter your PIN code. Follow the steps to lift and rest your finger until setup is complete. When you’re done, you can add a new fingerprint.


Set up facial recognition

logitech brio webcam

(Credit: Logitech)

Most laptops come with webcams, but not necessarily those that are compatible with Windows Hello. If you’re in the market for a new laptop, check the features to see if the included camera works with Windows Hello.

You can also add a compatible webcam to your existing computer. To find one, search the web for “Windows Hello webcam(Opens in a new window).” Logitech offers a good line of suitable webcams, including the Logitech Brio 4K Webcam. Other manufacturers make more budget-oriented products that will also play well with Windows Hello.

Click on the Windows Hello Face setting

To set up facial recognition in Windows 10, go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. Select the setting for Windows Hello Faceand then click on Set up button.

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Keep looking at your camera

Click Got started, then enter your PIN. Look at the camera while the face is being scanned. When you’re done, you’ll be told that you can use your face the next time you want to unlock your device.

Improve recognition

If you were wearing glasses during the scan and want to take another scan without them, remove the glasses and click Improve recognition link. A new scan will then be run.

Click on the Face Recognition (Windows Hello) setting

You can set up facial recognition in Windows 11 by going to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. Click on the setting for Facial recognition (Windows Hello) and then click Set up.

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Position your face

Click Got started and enter your PIN code. Position your face to let the scan run. If you need to perform a new scan, for example if you want to be scanned with our without your glasses, click Improve recognition link.


Remove Windows password

Configure Windows Hello

Once you’ve enabled Windows Hello, you can remove the password option entirely. Go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options. Scroll down to the Additional Settings section and enable For enhanced security, only allow Windows Hello sign-in for Microsoft accounts on this device.

When this setting is enabled, the password option will not appear on the login screen, so you will only be able to log in with your face, fingerprint, or PIN. This means that if someone is able to get your password, they will still not be able to log into Windows on your PC

A downside to this option is that if biometric authorization ever fails, you won’t be able to use your password as a backup. However, you can still log in with your PIN.


How to log in with Windows Hello

Use your face or fingerprint to sign in to Windows

The next time you are at the Windows logon screen, click Login Options link. Select the method you wish to use for logging in, such as Face for facial recognition and Fingerprint for fingerprint recognition. Authenticate your identity through the method of your choice, and you’ll sign in to Windows.

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