Windows 8.1 could introduce fingerprint unlock

Microsoft has already told the world that Windows 8.1 will be a free update via the Windows Store, with a preview version being released on June 26th. As for the content of the update, little is concrete. We could see the return of the Start button, in a significant U-turn from Microsoft. Other additions could include improved homescreen customisation (which could also come to the next Xbox), greater search options and more.  

WinBeta is reporting that Windows 8.1 build 9385 - which has reportedly been distributed to OEMs - contains a new setting called "SystemSettings_User_FingerprintPassword." The report notes that the setting is non-functional in it's current form, but is present nonetheless. The new setting sits alongside other which are functioning, such as "PicturePassword" and "PinPassword".

If this addition makes it into the final build, thought to be build 9600, then it would certainly be an interesting move by Microsoft, and would need OEM support to be properly implemented. The Surface tablets don't include fingerprint scanners, while other Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets also lack the feature.

Source: WinBeta

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yeah, but users need to be reminded to cleans the touchscreen regulary as its might prove possible for other to copy the fingerprints from the touchscreen.

Apple said that repeated cleaning the touchscreen would diminish the touchscreen coating quality, so you'll need to buy a new touchscreen to replace the old one, earlier than planned.


I think one of the big stumbling blocks to wider fingerprint reader adoption is the lack of manufacturers in this space. In 2010, AuthenTec acquired UPEK, which, as far as I know were the two largest manufacturers at that time. A few years later in 2012, Apple acquired AuthenTec, which must mean that a lot of the IP involved in fingerprint biometrics is now in Apple's... hands.


Aryeh Goretsky

yes. AuthenTec was pretty much the only major fingerprint reader manufacture, and they actually had decent software too. I was really sad that Apple bought them out. I got an Eikon Mini right when it came out and now use AuthenTec's readers on both my laptop and desktop. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the future will still be bright in this space for a while.

It could mean maybe that a touchscreen can read your finger print???
imagine just touch your finger to the screen and you are logged in and up and running.

I was thinking the same. Is it even possible for touchscreens to "read" information off a finger? I guess future touchscreen technology could enable it in near future...

As others already mentioned, biometric support has been in Windows for ages. But they've always called it exactly that though - biometrics - wonder why they would start using the term fingerprint now...

"We could see the return of the Start button, in a significant U-turn from Microsoft."

To clarify, the Start button != Old Start Menu. This is NOT a 'significant' U-turn, as the button will just bring up the CURRENT Windows 8 Start Screen. Nothing more, nothing less.

Today I learned I've been using Windows 8.1 since 2009.

/has been unlocking and booting with a fingerprint for years

I'm surprised Microsoft hasn't pushed for fingerprint login more, as I remember it used to sell a fingerprint scanner years ago. It seems like an easy way to improve security and convenience. As with anything, anyone determined enough can bypass it but it's more than enough for the casual user.

Ehm, this has been included in Windows since 7 (and probably Vista), natively. It's just an entry for the Modern control panel. Try entering Biometric in your start menu search.

Ambroos said,
Ehm, this has been included in Windows since 7 (and probably Vista), natively. It's just an entry for the Modern control panel. Try entering Biometric in your start menu search.

+1. I actually had a biometric reader on my Vista laptop...

Yeah I was thinking the same thing. My Thinkpad T60 had a fingerprint reader on it so and as of Windows 7 it natively worked within Windows (if not sooner).

I use it now to log into Windows all the time.

Yup, it has been around since Windows '98... I was a tester for a security company who made a software with finger reader and eye scanner via webcam. I can't remember the name of the company... it has been so long since I last used their software. I have it in my storage.

we have lenovo laptops at work running XP with fingerprint readers to unlock the computer. why would they mention this like it's new to win8?

I think you guys are thinking of the drivers that came with the software. I had a HP computer that didn't work in Win 7/Vista unless you install the Fingerprint reader software. Same with an IBM I had. This makes it sound like it would be native to the OS.

This. Yes, Windows has had the ability to utilize fingerprints as long as you've installed the necessary manufacturer software to register the biometric data. It has never AFAIK been native to Windows by itself.

Part of the UI was there in 7 at least, and natively. The only thing manufacturers needed to implement in the driver was a UI to register your fingerprints, but the whole logon UI and biometric framework to enable/disable biometric logon has been native Windows for quite some time.

Maybe so but I never had it natively load drivers or the UI on my HP or IBM. Maybe it was due to the reader hardware but since the driver wouldn't load by default it never fully functioned without that third party software. And both laptops were made after Vista came out so you would think 7 would have included the drivers in their database.

Ambroos said,
Ehm, this has been included in Windows since 7 (and probably Vista), natively. It's just an entry for the Modern control panel. Try entering Biometric in your start menu search.
I've been using a fingerprint scanner to unlock my Windows 8 PC since Windows 8 came out. I think they're actually putting a more specific option in the security menu.