As the world’s largest software company, Microsoft pioneered a password-free world, offering users a range of workarounds, including facial recognition, and fingerprinting.
How to Connect To a Microsoft Account With a Security Key or Windows Hello
Called Windows Hello, the biometric authentication tool developed by Microsoft was launched in 2015 and was even offered on the company’s Windows 10 Mobile smartphones.
For example, the Lumia 950 XL, which debuted at the end of 2015, was one of the first smartphones with such features and, as we know, facial recognition is becoming a security system like on high-end phones running Android and iOS.
However, since then, Windows Hello has received occasional updates and Microsoft has consistently encouraged more users to accept it. The latest generation laptops all have an authentication system and, with a recent update, the software giant goes even further.
Microsoft adds Windows Hello to the Microsoft account , which means that you can connect to your favorite Microsoft services on the Web without using a password.
For example, if you want to browse your cloud-based files and sign in to OneDrive, you no longer need to provide your password, but simply use facial recognition of Windows Hello.
A feature to activate manually
Needless to say, this feature needs to be configured because it is not enabled by default. And above all, here’s what you’ll need:
- Windows 10 version 1809 (October 2018 Update)
- A Windows Hello compatible device with fingerprint reader or facial recognition
- A security key compatible with Microsoft (Yubico or Feitian)
- The Microsoft Edge browser
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Basically, Windows Hello can only be used to authenticate with Microsoft Services on Windows 10 version 1809 when the Microsoft Edge browser is used .
To enable this new feature, you must first sign in to your Microsoft account on this Microsoft page . If you are not running the latest versions of Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge, or if your computer is not compatible with Windows Hello, you should receive an error message.
Then you need to configure a security key and follow the wizard to configure your key. You must choose between USB and NFC. You will also be prompted to insert your key and put your finger on it, then create a backup PIN, enter a name for the key, and save the settings.
The next time you want to sign in to a Microsoft service, instead of providing your password, click the option labeled “Use Windows Hello” or “Security Key.”
If the feature has been configured correctly, then Windows Hello must be enabled to scan your face or the security key must be used to perform a check and allow you to log in.
Microsoft Authenticator as an alternative
As an alternative, I also recommend that you set up the official Microsoft Authenticator app for Android and iOS. After you set up your account in the app, whenever you try to sign in to a Microsoft service from a new browser or computer, you are prompted to approve authentication on your mobile device, the all without providing your password.
This solution is particularly useful for those who do not have a Windows Hello compatible computer, but who keep their mobile phone most of the time.
And of course, if you simply want to use the old-fashioned password method, be sure to choose a more complex password and enable two-factor authentication.