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How to set up Windows Hello

Ditch your password and log in to your PC with just your face or fingerprint


Thanks to Windows Hello, unlocking and logging in to your Windows devices is easy and secure. From Apple’s FaceID feature found on iPhone, or the fingerprint and face scanners found on Android devices, physical text passwords are slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Confused about how to get your Windows Hello credentials set up? Just follow these simple steps.

Setting up a Windows Hello Webcam

Step 1: Check for compatibility

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Before setting up Windows Hello, you’ll want to make sure that your device supports it. Newer devices like the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop, or Surface Book all support Windows Hello as standard. Generally, you will receive a set up prompt for Windows Hello during the first boot of your device. If you skipped it, you can follow the steps here.

Microsoft has a list of devices that support Windows Hello, but you can also check your PC for native Windows Hello compatibility by heading to the Start Menu and typing Windows Hello. Then click on the Sign in Options result, and launch the Windows 10 settings app. In older versions of Windows, if you see a big Set Up button under where it says Windows Hello, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t provide the option, your device may not support the feature.

In the Windows 10 May 2019 Update and newer, you’ll be able to select an icon or option for Windows Hello Face from the top of the list. If it says Set Up when you click it, you’re good to go. If not, plug in either an external fingerprint reader or Windows Hello compatible webcam to get started.

If your device doesn’t have one embedded, you can buy an external Windows Hello webcam like the Logitech 4K Webcam and hook it up to your computer via USB. You can also buy an external fingerprint reader as another option.

Step 2: Verify your identity

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Next up, you’ll want to click on the Set Up button to get started. You’ll receive a prompt that explains what Windows Hello does, and then you’ll want to click Get Started.

Windows 10 will then ask you to verify your identity with your existing password. It could be the password for your Microsoft Account, or a pin that you assigned during the boot of your device. You’ll have to enter that in to let you set up the rest of the login.

Step 3: Scan your face!

Once you verify your identity with the set up prompt, it’s time to scan your face. There’s no need to take off your glasses or change the lighting. Windows Hello is designed to read your face in any conditions, but it is best to make sure you’re in a well-lit room.

Also, be sure to keep your face centered in the frame, and make sure you’re looking directly at your webcam as Windows 10 analyzes your facial features. A blue box will appear around your face, and fill to show you the progress that the set up has made. You might also notice circles appear around your face, marking its unique features. The process shouldn’t take longer than a minute.

Step 4: Improve recognition, if needed

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If needed, you can click on the Improve Recognition prompt on the next page to improve the way Windows Hello will recognize your face.

This is best if you’re wearing glasses, have any piercings, or if you opted to wear glasses during the set up. You always can do this later by heading back to Windows Hello settings as we described above, an clicking the Improve Recognition button.

Setting up a Windows Hello Fingerprint reader

Step 1: Plug in your USB and install drivers

If your device has an internal fingerprint reader, you can skip to step 2. Otherwise, start here to set it up. First, plug in the fingerprint reader to your computer’s USB port. Allow Windows 10 to install the drivers, and then proceed to the next step. It shouldn’t take longer than 2 minutes.

Step 2: Head to settings to set up the fingerprint reader

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Next, you’ll want to head to your Windows 10 settings to set up the Fingerprint reader. Just as before, head to the start menu and type Fingerprint. 

Then, choose set up fingerprint sign-in from the list of results. You should then be taken to the main settings page, where you can begin the set up.

Step 3: Start swiping your fingers

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Once at the settings for Windows Hello, you’ll need to verify your identity with a pin or password. You’ll then be greeted by an explanation of how Windows Hello works. Keep on clicking through, and then click Get Started. You can then swipe your fingers on the reader so Windows 10 can receive your fingerprint data.

On older laptops, you’ll need to swipe your finger on the reader, but on newer laptops, you’ll just have to tap your fingers roughly six times on the sensor. Once done, that’s it! If needed, you can add extra fingers to Windows Hello. The set up will prompt you to do so. Or you can visit the main settings page to add again later.

Benefits of Windows Hello

Once you’ve set up Windows Hello, there will be several benefits. First off, you’ll immediately be able to sign in to your PC, without having to enter a password. Additionally, with newer versions of Windows 10, you also can use Windows Hello to sign in to certain websites, like the Microsoft Account page.

Finally, there are certain apps which are compatible with Windows Hello, including Dropbox, OneDrive, OneLocker Password Manager, and more. With Windows Hello, you’ll be able to not only secure your PC but also its files and apps.

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Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
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