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This is Windows Hello with a RealSense camera and fingerprint scanner

With Windows 10 out for the masses this week we decided to focus a little more on Windows Hello. Although I covered it in my review, Windows Hello is so unique and interesting we know you want to see it in action.

Windows Hello is Microsoft's new biometric authentication system for Windows 10 for logging into the OS. You can also use it for Store purchases. Coming soon, Windows Hello will work with Passport. Passport is a secure system to "access a growing set of websites and services across a range of industries – favorite commerce sites, email and social networking services, financial institutions, business networks and more."

In the video demo above, I'll walk you through using Windows Hello on Windows 10. The demonstration includes:

  • Intel RealSense F200 developer camera
  • Fingerprint scanner (Lenovo X1 Carbon)
  • Setting up Windows Hello for both face and fingerprint
  • Demo of Windows Hello unlocking a Surface 3 and making a Store purchase

There are already a few laptops on the market with a RealSense camera built in natively. We shared that list here if you are curious. Of course, more cameras and systems with RealSense are coming, so you will not have to wait too long. For those wondering, no you cannot use Windows Kinect for Windows Hello.

How to set up Windows Hello facial recognition in Windows 10

Many laptops already have fingerprint scanners built-in, and those should automatically work with Windows Hello. Previously users had to rely on proprietary software from companies like Lenovo to utilize the scanner. Now, the system is native to the OS making things much more straightforward.

Privacy

As I noted in my review and as explained by Microsoft, your data never leaves the computer. It is encrypted and stored locally not sent over a network or stored by Microsoft. From the Microsoft support page:

"During setup, Windows takes the data captured from the face or iris sensor or fingerprint reader and creates a representation that it encrypts and stores on your device. (This isn't an image; it's more like a graph.) The representation of you stays on your device. Windows never stores pictures or images of your face, iris, or fingerprint on your device or anywhere else."

This why you need to do the 30-second setup for Windows Hello on each computer. Your biometric information does not roam with your profile. Although it would be neat to walk up to any computer, scan your finger, and have your Windows profile load, such a system has many weaknesses at this time, so it is not implemented. Maybe someday.

Even more interesting is the fact if someone stole your laptop, hacked it, decrypted the files (highly unlikely) they still could not use the data in any meaningful way. Once again, Microsoft explains this:

"The identification data collected to sign you in isn't an actual image. It's a representation based on the unique qualities of your face, fingerprint, or iris (more like a graph than an image). This data can't be used to recreate an image of your face, fingerprint, or iris."

All in all, Windows Hello is a very secure and simple solution. You can read more about Windows Hello and privacy here:

Windows Hello and Privacy: FAQ (opens in new tab)

Intel RealSense F200 camera

Intel RealSense F200 camera – Where to buy, cost and issues

For home PC users, you can opt to buy the $99 Intel RealSense developer camera aka the F200. However, there are a few caveats:

  • Currently, it is sold out
  • The F200 is not a consumer-grade device, it is for software development
  • There are some compatibility issues we have experienced
  • You need a 4th Generation Haswell or later Intel processor

I am currently using the F200 on my Dell XPS 27 computer with Windows 10. It works flawlessly. It also works with the Surface 3, although this is not at all practical due to its size. In our testing, Mark and I did have some compatibility problems running it on the Lenovo X1 Carbon (2015) and Surface Pro 3, although others have no issues too.

The F200 is a developer device, and it may not work perfectly, all the time, so heed caution if you are thinking of buying one. It can work perfectly well as a webcam too. However, I find something like Logitech's C920 to give overall better quality.

You also must install the Intel RealSense Depth Camera Manager (DCM) software (see below). You do not need to install the full SDK for Windows Hello. Once installed Windows Hello under Settings should let you set up facial recognition. Here are some important links to get you started:

The Future is Simple

Once you use Windows Hello, it is hard to fathom going back to the older password system. Windows Hello is just starting so expect more hardware, more cameras (including Iris ones), and more support from hardware manufacturers in the coming months.

Should you consider Windows Hello for your next PC, laptop, or accessory purchase? Absolutely. In fact, I would put it at the top of my list because it makes using Windows 10 that much better. This is not a trivial convenience issue either. Windows Hello does make computing life much easier, but it is also a much more secure system. Once Passport rolls out for websites, logging into to your favorite destinations will be a breeze. The thought of logging into my online banking account just by looking at my computer display is a lot better than entering a password.

As I said before, this is cool stuff, folks, and we are just getting started.

More Resources

Need more information or need some help? Here are some great links to get you started:

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

107 Comments
  • AMD Chip problems...
  • Well, it is an Intel device. They probably have it hardwared to not run if it detects anything else than Intel inside.  This is still very new technology. More non-partisan firms will release devices.
  • No I am saying we are missing out for now... But yes I agree this could def. be compatible for AMD as well as Intel in the future.
  • Given it is sold out, many people are missing out. Odds are there wil be a universal solution before Intel restocks.
  • Intel problems, only works with 4th gen haswells or later.
    It's a development device, not consumer.
  • It works on a lesser processor, like my 2nd gen i5, that requirement is probably for use with development environments.
  • Not necessarily, if certain AMD chips have the correct execution codes then they can.
  • I want to use fingerprint scanner. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Already using it
  • Want details on fingerprint scanner
  • For those of us who still build our own desktops, the F200 seems to be the only option. I snagged one last week but waiting for Intel Skylake to be released to upgrade my system and for the camera to meet the system requirements.
  • My guess is Logitech and others will have to license the RealSense stuff from Intel to make their own cameras for consumers. At least, I hope that is the case. I do believe there will be high-demand for this tech as more people become aware of it in Windows 10.
  • Creative makes the camera.
  • If there is going to be high demand for cameras that can do this tech, then why the heck doesn't Kinect work with it? Like, seriously? What is Microsoft thinking? Spend untold hundreds of millions of dollars developing, marketing, and manufacturing a product and then don't even make it work with your own software OS? Mind-boggling. You wrote: "For those wondering, no you cannot use Windows Kinect for Windows Hello." I don't know how credible Travis Pope at Gotta Be Mobile is, but he claims that "According to a Microsoft employee, Windows Hello will soon pick up support for the Kinect sensor", which sure better be true, otherwise, I just don't undertand Microsoft at all.  
  • Because realsense is a non Microsoft product, it's built into the os because MS is business oriented for well business. I have yet to see an Xbox used in the board room....this however can be.
  • You don't need an XBox to use Kinect; you can use it with a Windows PC as well, and there used to be a Windows specific version although now they just provide an adapter instead. Kinect for Windows is used in board rooms sometimes.
  • Kinect works with Windows. There is no need for an Xbox. Microsoft made Windows. Microsoft made Kinect. You'd think their own software would support their own hardware, rather than being designed instead for competitors' products.
  • Kinect does work with Windows... After Adafruit's $2000 challenge of course.  Many useful applications outside gaming
  • While I agree that Kinect should be supported, keep in mind that the current sensor 2.0 was first released in 2013 and was likely in development for years prior to that as it was intended for the XBox One. New OS features often require new hardware; this is to be expected. The Kinect likely doesn't offer the security required; it's strengths are more in motion detection and may only provide basic facial recognition/webcam functionality which would not be secure enough for secure authentication. You can still use the Kinect for other purposes on Windows; just not for Windows Hello.
  • Try it, it works independently of the processor requirement.
  • I have the RealSense camera. Lots of issues with getting it to work consistently with Windows Hello.
  • Yup. It works very well with my desktop, which TBH, is all I care about. But it can be flakey on some PCs. Not sure why that is.
  • We need more amd support
  • I would love it if online retailers somehow built this type of feature into their security instead of passwords.  
  • That's what the passport feature is about.
  • Yup!
  • I'm totally speculating on how it works, but basically, you would be able to set up a Passport on each computer. Passport gives websites an identification code that is far more complex than a simple username and password to make the connection that requires Windows Hello to set up. Think of it as a biometric password locker except passwords are never stored on your computer.
  • Thanks for the clarification guys :). Much appreciated.
  • has the video been removed by the user?
  • Replaced. It's back.
  • No, it's still there. Try refreshing?
  • I wonder if i can set up multiple faces for the same account for using a family desktop. 
  • AFAIK, no you cannot. Does not seem to be a way to add more than one face. You would need to create separate accounts. Edit: they do this bc there would be no way for you to know how many "faces" are stored. Since the system does not use a photo of you, there could be no way for you to see who's face is on there, causing a bit of a security concern and defeating the purpose.
  • Ok thanks for taking the time to respond
  • Yeah.  Create separate accounts on the desktop.  I don't want my wife and daughter getting into my stuff!
  • I guess i would have to create seperate accounts if I get a computer with Hello.  I have 3 kids and prefer them using one account on the family desktop.  Just easier to keep track of 1 account instead of many. 
  • As far as the RealSense camera, my company has been trying to develop with it almost since it was available and it has lots of issues and very little support from Intel or Creative. Hopefully, someone has in the pipeline a webcam that will work with Skype, Windows Hello and Cortona otherwise the much tauted feature is useless for many.  Microsoft or Intel should have had hardware partners ready for launch otherwise this is a dead feature.  While some new laptop's "may" have the feature, most will not and while Intel wants to sell new chips, it has a lot of old chips in the field
  • Yup, although if you do get the F200 working well, it works fine with Skype and Hey Cortana too. Mine has no problems with those. But yeah, I'd like to see many more partners here too. It's still very early, so we'll see where it is in six months. Hard to imagine this not becoming the norm.
  • Are there any other features than login here and there? Will it be usable as selfie camera with sharing options too?
  • It's an RGB camera aka 'webcam', so yeah, it works like any other camera, including with the Windows Camera app, Skype, Hey Cortana, etc.
  • I would imagine it would work like any other web-cam, with the exception of the Windows Hello and Passport features.
  • Walking up to any computer and scanning my finger or face and having my profile load- wouldn't that mean Microsoft would have to store and keep that data in the cloud?
  • You did read the part about 'Privacy' or watch the video, right? I mean, I explicitly answer that question.
  • i was referring to your statement about walking up to any computer and scanning your finger.  Well in order to pull my profile based on my finger on any computer even if I've never used it before it would have to pull my profile from somewhere, right?  You said "maybe someday" My comment was based on the future of windows hello and not its current state because i know it's currently stored locally.  Thanks Daniel  
  • Fingerprint and face scanning needs to be setup separetely on every device, they encrypt the data and only store it locally.
  • I assume you missed the entire section entitled "PRIVACY"?
  • Or he probably switched to comments directly after reading the title ;)
  • Actually it looks like neither of you read the article, he is directly referencing a section of the text, and he is correct, it seems odd to mention "maybe someday" on a feature that would mean privacy would become a concern, it's better to just not hope for it.
  • Yeah, that he explained later.
  • Love the idea of this system and can;t wait for more devices to show up.  Waiting to buy a standalone camera for my home desktop and 5 users.  I'll pass on the developer cam and wait for other options that will presumably have more testing and reliability behind them.
  • I'm with you on that. I was all set to buy the dev camera but then I started thinking about it. $100 for a device that I'm thinking won't work with my AMD chip and will probably have other OEMs releasing it for cheaper.
  • Looking forward to using this when I upgrade to a Surface 4 this Fall.  Pretty cool stuff.
  • I really didn't know there was an actual laptop with built-in fingerprint scanner. That ThinkPad is awesome!
  • Yeah, ThinkPads have had these for many years now. I have an old Lenovo from 2011 that has it. They're super awesome and I prefer to buy a laptop with it than not.
  • I had a fingerprint scanner on my old T42, which was what? 2005? 2006? They're definitely pretty handy. Lenovo's implementation of them work alot better then the other OEM as well.
  • HP has had them in their laptops for years, at least for their corporate focused models.  Of course, my company never uses them.  Maybe when we upgrade to Windows 10 in a couple of years.
  • They have been in their consumer models as well. Both of my last HP laptops had them. It'll take a while until corporations use them. They implement security at the server, not the client. I'm not sure how Windows Hello would work in that environment.
  • Oh, I didn't know that too. They're not much popular or sold in large numbers here, maybe.
  • HP has had them since long back, my friend has a laptop since 2012 and another friend has one since 2009, and both of them have a fingerprint scanner (Speaking from India here). Even my Dell laptop from 2011 has face recognition feature that uses my face for login, for signing into websites if I am using Internet Explorer and a few more things like that. I've seen the feature in many Dell laptops since long, though it probably functions differently than this new technology
  • Still not sold in large numbers, due to their high price (I saw some ThinkPads on Flipkart). None of the laptops I've seen till today, including Dell, Lenovo and HP, had it. And believe me I have seen hundreds of them. But today I came across one ;) Looking to upgrade to such a laptop but once it comes with that camera too.
  • May be, but people are buying it already since long, hence I've seen it around me, may be, you could not come across one, yet, around you.
  • I have the scanner in my 2012 Vaio. With the software it came with I could sign in to most of the sites I used.
  • Uh what for real??? They have been on laptops for more tham a decade.
  • I have laptop that I bought in 2006 that has it, and another from 2004. Nothing new about them.
  • Come on. Is it not possible for anyone to not see a specific thing? There's nothing much astonishing here.
  • All the corporate issued laptops at MSFT have had fingerprint scanners for a while, and use is encouraged. There is also a culture of pranking people who don't Lock their computers, even if you are chatting up the person in the office next door. Whatever technology helps users to make it secure and easy to unlock workstations should be encouraged
  • Why does Windows Hello require to set up a PIN? I mean, facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, etc. were invented to improve security and convenience, to incite the user to set a strong password. But what's the point if a simple PIN can bypass the whole thing? All that is left is convenience.
    But they did this on purpose, so there has to be some reason.
  • According to Microsoft, PIN is lot more secure than a typical password. And btw, guessing a PIN is really not so easy as many people think it is.
  • Plus in Windows 10 you can finally have more than 4 digits for a PIN, so it's on you to make it more secure ;)
  • Thanks for the tip, I didn't know that. 'Finally' indeed.
  • Cameras break. Pin is a backup.
  • Hardware breaks. Without the PIN, you could be locked out of your computer. It's not convience, it's necessary. It's on you to create a secure enough PIN, instead of a simple one, and even a simple one is immune to a brute force attack (unless you're dumb enough to use 0000)
  • Yeah.
  • You can always sign in with your MSA password, so there is no need for a PIN.
  • you don't need 3rd party software for most fingerprint readers, if it is built in windows update will make it work in no time and you can set it up in account settings, and if you buy a stand alone reader it is a plug and play experience, I don't even remember since when windows had this functionality, but it only works for main login screen and store purchases and some system settings, "windows hello" its just a new name for an old trick, now with facial-retinal scanners available
  • My X1 Carbon (2015) came with Lenovo's fingerprint software and my guess is most consumers would use that by default. It's also not "a new name for an old trick" as Windows Hello is a whole system that will tie into Passport going forward.
  • I don't normally make these types of comments but, please use periods to separate thoughts. I ran out of breath reading your post - almost passed out. :-)
  • It should be mentioned that if a consumer was to get one there is no warranty with it. And there may be known defects to which Intel is not responsible for.
  • Bit worrying that they assume that encryption will be cracked and then comfort that it does not matter because its just graph. Can't the spooks just run their surveillance data due same sensor and software and check if the graphs are similar? Then again this would assume that spooks have access to PC yet don't know to whom it belongs to so use cases are limited :)
  • Look, if "spooks" are after you, you're just screwed anyway. Look up TEMPEST attack. Sleep tight! lol
  • How does this work if you have multiple users on one PC?  At home one of my PC is used by four members of my family.  They currently have to login using my password.  
  • You would need to create separate accounts for each if they wanted to use the face recognition. Personally, not sure why you wouldn't just create sep accounts anyway. Much easier to manage and people's stuff can stay separate. They could alternatively just use your password. The OS gives you a choice what to login with each time, but only one person's face would use Windows Hello.
  • Why do you need a 4th gen intel core processor to use this?
  • technology
  • Nice shirt Dan where did you get it I need one like that Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Is there any timeframe speculation for when consumer grade real sense cameras will be available? Windows hello seems like an awesome feature, but the majority of users that want to use will be disappointed to know that their webcam isn't supported.
  • I hope that MS can get the Kinect 2 supported for this.  I hope they're trying.  Cause that, plus the built in mic, seems the perfect solution for Hello and Cortana.  Kinect 3 maybe
  • Does this work with kinect for windows. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • No. It simply needs the RealSense camera or any fingerprint scanner (but not too old).
  • Its kinda stupid Microsoft has the perfect hello camera and not use oh well, thanks. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • So my takeaway from this is that the software is way ahead of the hardware. As the hardware catches up and Intel gets the licensing out to the likes of Logitech and the OEMs this should be a great addition. In the mean time be patient and give Microsoft credit for being ahead of the curve instead of playing catchup.
  • I really cannot wait for Cityman, truly secure facial detection.
  • My F200 cam hasn't been working flawlessly at unfortunately. End up entering in my pin most of the time because it can't recognize me.
  • I'm surprised you have a dell
  • Anyone know if RDP will be supported?
  • Big D, can you secure the camera to the top of the surface or does it just hang?
  • I really want to experiment this so bad.. use a 3D printer to print the face and if that can be used to unlock windows?
  • The reason why this only works well on certain processors is down to the bandwidth requirement and the execution codes in the CPU. Older CPUs will not have the correct codes so the thread cannot run.
  • What happen to my laptop if i already register my biometric and had an accident that needs me to going through plastic surgery? am i still be able to login to my laptop?
  • What happens if someone murders you, cuts off your face, and sticks it on a mannequin head? Are they still able to login to your laptop?
  • Worked immediately with my finger print scanner after upgrade. Very convenient :) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Not compatible with other cameras??? Ha! No thanks. The Creative webcam is so bulky why bother carrying it around. I'd rather wait for the next surface where the fingerprint and camera are integrated. When it comes to PC webcam, I still love my Logitech c930e.
  • my mother in-law recently got a new BMW just by parttime work from a pc online. why not look here >>> +_ _+_ _+_ _+_ _+_ _+_ _+_ _+ WWW.NetPro8.com
  • Awesome!
  • Man. I'm such a simpleton that my thinking is that if my passwords gets compromised, I can change them. But now that we have biometrics security it is so much better. If my biometrics get compromised all I have to do is go to my local plastic surgeon to change my features so I can have a new "password." Well, at least MS doesn't have my biometrics that's a relief. It is all on my computer securely stored. And we all know that none of the software written ever has holes that can be exploited. Build 10240 from the time we got it as Insiders to the time it was delivered to the public had at least 3 updates related to security. Of course, I don't know anything about this new exciting area of security and ho