How to Use Picture Passwords in Windows 10

If you’d rather not type or remember a complicated string of letters and numbers every time you want to log onto your PC or tablet, Windows® 10 lets you instead set up a simple pattern you can draw over a favorite photo as your log-in credential.

This is a handy feature for people who may have difficulty typing letters on a keyboard, or for those who just want to try something different and arguably more convenient that is still fairly hacker-proof. Indeed, traditional alphanumeric password-hacking software will be no good up against a picture password.

How it works

On a tablet, Windows 10 users draw right over the photo with a finger on the screen; on a PC, the “drawing” simply occurs using the mouse.

Setting it up

To establish picture password logging in on your PC or tablet:

  1. Click the Start button and select Settings from the menu
  2. Choose Accounts
  3. On the left, select Sign-in Options
  4. From this screen you can choose between:
    • Changing your existing alphanumeric password
    • Logging in with a PIN
    • Logging in with a picture password
  5. Click the Add button under Picture Password and type in your current password
  6. Click OK
  7. Follow the onscreen steps to set up your picture password, including:
    • Choosing a personal photo from your PC’s hard drive
    • Drawing a series of three gestures on the photo
    • Confirming the gestures

You can now sign in by performing these gestures over the photo to get into your PC or tablet.

Note that from the Windows log-in screen, clicking the Sign-in Options link will let you sign in with your old password, should you forget the picture password gestures you saved. Also, removing the picture password by selecting that option from the Sign-in Options in the Accounts menu will re-enable password-based logging in.

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