How to Use A Picture Password in Windows 10

Online security is more important than ever as we continue to use our computers, laptops, phones, and tablets for everything. We pay bills, download important documents, and file taxes online and there could be major consequences if this valuable information were in the wrong hands. There are security measures that your browser or OS will implement (touch ID, face ID, etc.) but one of the more innovative ways to protect your PC is through the Picture Password feature on Windows.

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Despite adding an additional layer and new type of security, the password feature is excellent if you aren’t great at making up strong passwords (please stop using your birthday!) or if you would rather not type or remember a complicated string of letters and numbers every time you want to log onto your PC or tablet. Instead, Windows® 10 lets you set up a simple pattern you can draw over a favorite photo as your log-in credential. This new feature has proven to truly be an innovation in the digital security space.

Not only does the Windows Picture Password feature enhance your security, but it 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. Indeed, traditional alphanumeric password-hacking software will be no good up against picture passwords.

How Windows Picture Password Works

Does this new feature sound interesting to you? It’s not as difficult to set up as you might think. But before we get into setting it up, let’s discuss how it works. Although it will depend on what device you are running Windows 10 (PC, laptop, tablet), the idea is pretty much the same.

If you are running Windows 10 on a tablet, after Picture Password is enabled and set up, users will simply draw over the photo on the screen using their fingers. If you enable this feature on your laptop or 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

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 picture passwords by selecting that option from the Sign-in Options in the Accounts menu will re-enable password-based logging in.

Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries.

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