How to set up and use the new Surface Fingerprint ID Type Cover

Type Cover with Fingerprint ID
Type Cover with Fingerprint ID

Besides the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 Microsoft also announced a new Type Cover including one with a built-in fingerprint ID sensor. It is oddly only available in the U.S. at this time and retails for $159 – or $30 more than the standard Type Cover.

We have one in the office and are going to show you how to set it up and use it.

Who is it for?

Even though you can easily use the fingerprint ID on the new Surface Pro 4 this Type Cover is the perfect buy for current Surface Pro 3 owners. For one, the Surface Pro 4 already had facial recognition built in for Windows Hello making a fingerprint reader convenient but redundant (facial recognition also works without a keyboard attached making it more ideal in tablet mode).

Indeed, instead of forking out nearly a grand for a the lowest-priced Surface Pro 4 you could get the new typing experience, larger glass trackpad and fingerprint ID for just $159. That investment would make your Surface Pro 3 feel like a new device.

Where can you use it?

Besides the obvious login screen for Windows 10 you can use fingerprint ID in at least two other situations:

  • Windows Store purchases for apps, games, movies and music
  • LastPass for Windows desktop and browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, or Opera

You can read about how to setup LastPass and the fingerprint ID in our new how-to.

How to setup LastPass to work with the Surface Fingerprint ID Type Cover

Microsoft is also likely to utilize their new Windows Passport feature and Windows Hello in the future for websites and more, so this is just the beginning.

Setting it up

Before snapping in the new Type keyboard with fingerprint ID make sure you have all the updates on your Surface Pro 3 or Surface Pro 4. A firmware patch went out with the 10/23 hardware update that installs and enables the drivers for the fingerprint ID and Windows Hello in Windows 10.

Next, just go to settings to setup up Windows Hello:

  1. Open All Settings
  2. Accounts
  3. Sign-in options
  4. Windows Hello > Fingerprint > Set up

The setup just takes a few seconds as you repeatedly place your finger on the sensor. It can be a bit finicky at first, but it works. You can also set up multiple fingers in case you want more than just your primary index finger.

Remember: Windows Hello and Windows 10 does not record your fingerprint. Instead, the information is turned into a hash, is encrypted and only stored locally (it does not go to the cloud or OneDrive).

Once setup you can just test it by hitting [Win + L] to lock the computer. Just press on the fingerprint scanner and the computer should unlock. You do not need to swipe your finger, just press. You can also do this at the password prompt and do not need the fingerprint ID login method selected on the lock screen.

So how is it?

Overall, we had very little issue with the fingerprint reader. It works well, is super-fast and makes using Windows 10 much easier. Being able to use it with LastPass is also a bonus along with Store purchases.

Surface Fingerprint ID Type Cover

If you are keeping your Surface Pro 3 this new Type Cover seems like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, Microsoft won't have more in stock for online orders until November 20. Your local Microsoft Store though may have them on the shelves. Also, sales are limited to the U.S. for now and you can only get it in black, which is shame for those who prefer the bright-blue color.

Are you planning on getting a fingerprint ID Type Cover? If you already have one how to you like it? Let us know in comments!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Awesome
  • I really wanted one. But US and black only kills it for me. I will test the new type over once it's available in EU and then maybe but it for my SP3.
  • Wen in UK?
  • Have you tried Windows 8.1 pro on your Surface pro 4? too excited to see it in it ))
  • It comes with W10 Pro, that would be a downgrade....
  • Bought one of these for my SP3 over the weekend - along with a Band 2 and the new Dock. It is so much better than the Touch 3 keyboard, the track pad is wonderful, keys have a much better feel, and you are not accidentially hitting the wrong key because they were so close to one another. The fingerprint reader is not as good as I hoped, though. I need to touch it two or three times for it to register. I may need to try training it again to see if that helps.
  • "Setup" is a noun. You mean "set up".
  • Their writing and reporting leave a lot to be desired....
  • I disagree. Also, unless you never make mistakes in life, it's a little harsh to throw stones.
  • Got it. Love it. Very fast. And the keyboard does make my a almost year old SP3 feel brand new.
  • I bought a sp4 and the fingerprint keyboard. I gave the new keyboard along with my old sp3 to my wife and took the old kb from the sp3 for my new sp4. The sp3 now has a fingerprint reader for her and she loves it and my new sp4 has face recognition plus I tend to use mine as a tablet more often so it works out perfect! Posted via BlackBerry or Lumia phone. sometimes temporary awful android.
  • Windows Hello fingerprint WAS working on my HP Envy, until I updated the drivers to the win10 "version"..... Must be nice.
  • But of course. It had been a while since Microsoft had come with some "US Only" bullsh*t. They were itching to do it again. Well, their loss. I'm certainly not buying an SP4 because of "Windows Hello" and if they don't want to sell me a fingerprint enabled type cover (or a type cover 4 in teal for that matter) i simply won't buy anything and the money will stay in my pocket. In this game, I never lose.
  • It's not that big of a deal. It's a new thing Microsoft is trying and they're already busy rolling out the Surface Pro 4 and the proper Type Covers, along with Surface Books, Surface Docks, and preparing to launch two Lumia flagships. They have a lot on their plate.
  • Yeah, curious if they are just testing the waters to see if people will buy them at all. Bit of a risk running with a new pricer SKU.
  • Could be a bit like the Band 1, to see if people are interested. I also think it's more for Surface Pro 3 owners, to get more people using Windows Hello. I could be wrong.
  • I just installed one on my SP3. Love it!! It's a single finger press. No swipe. The resized trackpad is much easier to use. Just snapped it in and set up Windows Hello. I couldnt justify moving from my high end SP3 to an SP4. But I do like the type cover upgrade.
  • Love love love love it. I got one for my SP3 and it is so much better than the SP3 type cover that it's almost unbelievable. The fingerprint ID works really well, too.
  • The thing is great when it works.  The problem is that it doesn't work MOST of the time.  When it does "break" it also makes it hard to login using a password.  I have to restart SP3 from the login page to login with a password.  Then if i log out - it logs in with figerprint. But it has yet to work when i wake it from sleep. 
  • has the fingerprint version of the keybaord for $137. I got one Sunday, will be here Wed. They are "open box" which makes zero sense because they just came out, but whatever. Maybe they used them for their website photos?   Good way to save on a newly released item. Something wrong? Just return it.
  • Good deal.
  • Can't wait to get it tomorrow.
  • Is it booger-proof?
  • Does the finger print scanner work then keyboard is folded behind the screen? Like when you have it in "tablet mode" but the keyboard is still connected? I 90% of the time use my SP3 in tablet mode, and it wouldn't be worth it to me if I have to put it "laptop mode" every time I want to unlock it.
  • Does speed in getting a document posted always take priority over the content? Is this just the way of the World now? Does the reader work in tablet mode (folded back) as per the question above? In the video with Panos' kids it shows one daughter logging in with Windows Hello using the facial recognition then it appears that the sedcond daughter just hits the fingerprint tab and it logs her in. Is this the case? I.e. if one user is logged in and a second user just hits the fingerprint reader does it switch users? Multiple user support is one of the major differentiators of Windows against it's competitors and supposed competitors. When reviewing and testing and doing how-to's it would be great to take multiple user cases into account.
  • Jeez. Questions noted, but we can do without the snark. Not really possibly to think of all user scenarios. Simply asking us to do something on that would be fine. Good lord the self-entitlement here sometimes...We're a friendly lot here, just ask and we can do it.
  • CHECK OUT THE Eikon Mini Fingerprint Reader for Microsoft Windows , bought on Amazon for $29.95, super small, using on my SP3 and works awesome, cheap and quick way to experience Windows Hello.  Highly recommend, very happy with ease of use.  Can't wait to get home and install desktop version of LastPass to try out.
  • Given all the bad reviews on the battery performance of windows helo, I kind of regret not having purchased it.