How Windows 10 Could Kill Passwords Forever

Microsoft Corp. Launches Windows 10 In Japan
A visitor tries out Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 10 operating system on the Surface 3 tablet device during a launch event in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. The release of Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system — an event that in years past sparked a surge of computer buying — will do little to ease the four-year sales slump that’s been dogging the PC industry. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Say Hello to Microsoft’s latest feature

User profiles are nothing new to Windows users. Microsoft has supported them as far back as Windows 95. But the recently released Windows 10 can store much more than just your profile — it can memorize your face, too. Known as Windows Hello, the new feature makes logging into your PC easier than ever.

Technically a method of biometric authentication, Windows Hello utilizes advanced hardware like fingerprint scanners, specialized front-facing cameras, and (soon) iris scanners to recognize users and log them into their user profiles. Special cameras help Hello tell the difference between an actual user and a picture of that user. I put Hello to the test on the new Microsoft Surface Pro 4, which in addition to having a front-facing webcam also packs an infrared facial recognition sensor.

Setup is a breeze. The camera turns on, you look at the screen for around thirty seconds, and that’s it. The next time I peeled back my Surface’s keyboard cover and woke the screen, I was greeted with the shining red light of the infrared camera, a message that says “looking for you,” and an animated blinking eye, looking around. Every time I’ve logged in, it has taken less than five seconds for the system to recognize me.

I’ve logged on with glasses, as well as without them; wearing a hat, and sans head cover; in the sunshine and in a pitch black (minus the screen glow) room — each time, a flawless login. I did manage to stump Windows Hello one time, when I was wearing both glasses and a hat. But I can’t fault a system designed to make it easier to sign into a computer for failing to do so when I’m wearing a disguise. Still, even if the feature didn’t recognize me well, improving the system simply involves opening up the settings and staring into the camera for another thirty second


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