XDA Basics: How to set up Windows Hello on your PC

XDA Basics: How to set up Windows Hello on your PC

Windows Hello is one of the coolest features introduced in Windows 10, and it allows you to unlock your PC using your fingerprint or your face. You can even use a USB security key this way. While biometric security wasn’t completely new to laptops when Windows Hello rolled around, it became much more common after that, and it also became standardized for any laptop that included it. But how do you set up Windows Hello? We’re here to help with that.

What you’ll need

The first thing you’ll need if you want to use Windows Hello is hardware that’s compatible. Most of the best laptops these days include either a fingerprint reader or an infrared camera for facial recognition. If you have a desktop PC or your laptop doesn’t have one of these things, though, you can buy an external device that handles Windows Hello for you. Check out the options below if you need a Windows Hello device, or see our list of the best webcams out there, a few of which support Windows Hello. If you’re looking to buy a PC, we have a list of Windows Hello laptops you might want to check out.

    Lenovo 500 Full HD Webcam

    Windows Hello camera

    A webcam with an IR sensor so you can unlock your PC easily.
    Kingston VeriMark Fingerprint Reader

    Fingerprint reader

    This USB-based fingerprint reader allows you to unlock your PC more easily.
    Yubico Yubikey 5

    Security key

    This USB and NFC-enabled security key can protect sensitive data on your PC and more.

Another thing you’ll need to set up Windows Hello is to be signed into your PC using a Microsoft account. Windows 10 and 11 already nudge you in that direction, though, so you should be good. You can always add a Microsoft account to your PC by going to the Settings app and choosing Accounts -> Your info. You’ll see the option to add a Microsoft account there. Once that’s done, we can get started.

Set up Windows Hello on your PC

If you just got a brand-new PC and you haven’t set it up yet, the easiest way to set it up is during the initial Windows setup process. After adding a Microsoft account, you can add a PIN, which is required for Windows Hello. Then, if your computer has Windows Hello hardware, you’ll be able to use your fingerprint or your face to set up Windows Hello.

If you’ve already set up your PC or you’ve just bought one of the devices above, here’s how to set up Windows Hello:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to the Accounts page.
  2. Click Sign-in options. All the Windows Hello settings are available at the top of this page.
  3. Select the type of Windows Hello device you have, then click Set up to begin. If fingerprint recognition and facial recognition options aren’t available on your PC, you’ll see that indication, so this also lets you find out if your PC has any of these methods built-in.
    Windows Hello sign-in options
  4. If you haven’t set up a Windows Hello PIN, you’ll have to do that first. By default, a PIN only uses numbers, but you can use letters and symbols if you want to. You’ll probably want this to be different from your Microsoft account password, though.
  5. Follow the instructions on screen to set up Windows Hello for your device. For facial recognition, you’ll need to line up your face and move it around. For fingerprint recognition, you’ll need to repeatedly tap your finger on the fingerprint sensor in different positions to register your fingerprint.
    • Can’t find your fingerprint reader? Many laptops have it built into the power button, while others might have it on the touchpad or below the keyboard.
      Adding a fingerprint in Windows Hello settings
  6. Once you’ve set up one face or finger, you can add more so you can use different fingers to unlock your PC or grant access to someone else.

And that’s it! You can now use your fingerprint or face to unlock your PC. You can press the Windows key + to go to your lock screen and test out Windows Hello. Tapping your finger on the fingerprint reader or simply standing in front of the camera should unlock your PC automatically from now on.

If you want to stop using Windows Hello, you can head back to the same page in Settings and remove Windows Hello as a sign-in option. You can keep using a PIN as a replacement for your Microsoft account password, which may be simpler and more secure.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Writer at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.