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Manage User Accounts and Settings in Windows 10

Customize your sign-in options

Each user manages the password and sign-in options for his or her account. This topic addresses actions you can take for your user account, not for other people’s user accounts.

If (and only if) your sign-in account has a password, you can create alternative sign-in options on each computer you log in to. These sign-in options include the following:

  • Personal identification number (PIN) A number (at least four digits long) that you enter in place of your password.
  • Picture password An image of your choice on which you perform a specific combination of gestures. Windows divides the picture into a 100x100 grid and looks for your selected gesture pattern in the appropriate grid coordinates. You can perform the gestures directly on a touchscreen or by using a mouse.

  • Windows Hello Biometric identification through a fingerprint, facial, or iris recognition. This feature is available only on computers that have biometric identification hardware such as a built-in or external fingerprint reader.

After you set up a PIN or picture password sign-in option, the Welcome page changes to offer your new option by default. There is also a Sign-In Options link on the page, so if you forget your PIN or the specific gestures of your picture password, you can sign in at any time by using your password.

In addition to controlling sign-in options, each user who signs in with Microsoft account credentials can choose whether to synchronize settings across all the computers he or she signs in to with those credentials. This is a very cool feature after you have it set up the way you want it and get used to it. You can synchronize the following groups of settings:

  • Theme Desktop background, colors, and sounds
  • Web browser settings Favorite sites and recent searches
  • Passwords Passwords that you’ve saved for specific websites
  • Language preferences Installed language packs, regional date and time settings, and keyboard language
  • Ease of Access settings Narrator and other accessibility tools
  • Other Windows settings Your Start screen configuration and various other settings that we haven’t found a clear description of

When you have a fingerprint reader or other biometric hardware installed on your computer, the Sign-In Options settings pane includes the Windows Hello category. At the time of this writing, you must create a PIN before you can configure a Windows Hello authentication method.

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The Windows Hello category lists the biometric readers that are installed on your computer

When you have multiple sign-in options configured for your account, the Welcome screen displays the most recently configured sign-in option by default. You can switch to a different sign-in option from the Welcome screen.

To create a PIN

  1. Open the Settings window, click Accounts, and then click Sign-in options.
  2. In the Sign-in options settings pane, in the PIN section, click the Add button.
  3. In the Please reenter your password window, enter the password for your account, and then click Sign in to open the Set up a PIN window.
  4. Enter a personal identification number that is at least four digits long in the New PIN and Confirm PIN boxes.

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    You can click the eye icons to check your entries

  5. In the Set up a PIN window, click OK to create your PIN and make the PIN sign-in option available from the Welcome screen.

To change a PIN

  1. In the Sign-in options settings pane, in the PIN section, click the Change button.
  2. In the PIN box, enter your current PIN to validate your credentials.
  3. Enter the new personal identification number (at least four digits long) in the New PIN and Confirm PIN boxes, and then click OK.

To configure Windows Hello fingerprint authentication

  1. Create a PIN.
  2. In the Sign-in options settings pane, in the Windows Hello section, click the Add button to start the Windows Hello setup wizard, and then click Get started.

  3. Swipe any finger across the fingerprint reader, from the first joint to the fingertip. Keep the finger flat and steady as you swipe.

    After the reader detects a usable fingerprint reading, it prompts you to swipe the same finger again, until it gets about four good readings.

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    You must confirm the authentication method multiple times

  4. After Windows registers the fingerprint, you can immediately add another fingerprint by clicking Add another and repeating step 3.

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    You can store multiple fingerprints and sign in with any one

To create a picture password

  1. In the Sign-in options pane, in the Picture password section, click the Add button to start the Picture Password wizard. The wizard has a background picture of purple flowers in a field of green.
  2. In the Create a picture password dialog box, enter your account password, and then click OK to verify your identity.
  3. The wizard demonstrates the three permissible gestures against the floral background. After you’re familiar with the gestures, click the Choose picture button.
  4. In the Open dialog box, browse to and select the picture you want to use, and then click Open to replace the wizard background picture. Drag the picture to adjust it in the available space, and then click Use this picture.
  5. Decide on a combination of three taps, lines, and circles you’ll be able to consistently remember, and then perform them on the picture. The wizard changes the number in the left pane as you perform each gesture.

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    Choose a picture that includes objects you can use to correctly position your gestures

  6. Repeat the three gestures when the wizard prompts you to do so, and then click the Finish button.

To change authentication methods on the Welcome screen

  1. On the Welcome screen displaying your user account name, click the Sign-in options link to display an icon for each sign-in method you have configured.
  2. Click the icon for the sign-in method you want to use.

To configure setting synchronization across computers

  1. In the Settings window, click Account, and then click Sync your settings.
  2. In the Sync your settings pane, set the Sync settings toggle button to On to activate synchronization on this computer.

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    When synchronization is on, all the elements synchronize by default

  3. Consider the computers that you sign in to with the current Microsoft account credentials. The in the Individual sync settings section, do the following:

    • Set the toggle button to On for each setting that you want to synchronize to and from this computer.
    • Set the toggle button to Off for each setting that you want to maintain independently on this computer.