You can now use Kinect and Windows Hello to sign in to Windows 10

Ever since Microsoft announced their Windows Hello biometric authentication program for Windows 10 people immediately asked about using the Kinect sensor. After all, Kinect already uses your face to sign you into the Xbox One making it patient zero of the Windows Hello paradigm. Unfortunately, for those using Kinect and Kinect for Windows there was no way to use the hardware for Windows Hello.

All of that is changing as Microsoft has finally created a beta driver that lets Windows 10 use Kinect for Windows v2 and Kinect for Xbox One use Windows Hello. The news came through an email to developers of Kinect who are part of the SDK and testing program where they announced the "public preview of Kinect support for Windows 10".

For now, you need to do some registry digging and hacking to let the OS download the new beta drivers for the feature. Microsoft has posted the instructions here (opens in new tab) and they are relatively short and sweet.

Once your PC has grabbed the driver you can read our tutorial on setting up Windows Hello for Windows 10:

How to set up Windows Hello facial recognition in Windows 10

It should be noted that if you are using your Kinect for Xbox One with your PC you do need to pick up a $50 cable and have it plugged into a USB 3.0 port (due to the power and bandwidth requirements). Alternatively, you can go all in for $199 and pick up the Kinect for Windows v2. That's about $100 more than the hard to acquire and always out of stock Intel F200, which is the only alternative third-party Windows Hello option at this time. (Note: Kinect for the Xbox 360 does not appear to be supported, sorry)

Needless to say this is a rather cool development and you have a spare Kinect laying around or want to rig your PC battle station to use this feature, now is your chance. Being the drivers are in development, there could be some hiccups, but Hello has come along quite a bit since the summertime.

Still need more? Stay tuned as we have a Kinect adapter headed our way and will to a how-to video and share with you how well it works.

Via: SuperSite for Windows, Mike Taulty's Blog, and @mikehole

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Cool
  • Sweet.  
  • On XBox One, Kinect uses skeletal structure recognition for automatic login. I think it may use facial recognition to supplement the skeletal "fingerprint", but I know my xbox logs me in if I just walk into the room while someone else is watching the TV, even while facing away from the Kinect sensors. But this is nice that they're adding this, since the hardware works so similarly to other throw-and-catch distance measurement based 3D scanners that supported Windows Hello to begin with.
  • Woah I didn't know that xbox+Kinect could do it
  • They also need to do the opposite and bring Windows Hello authentication with Kinect to Xbox One.
    ​Face authentication for Store purchases and the rest of the Hello goodies needs to come to Xbox One sooner than later.
  • I mean, how could that not be happening. We already use Kinect to sign into Xbox, so just some moving of things around. Likely happen when the Store goes out early next year.
  • Yea this is what I am saying, is happening for sure, but it needs to happen sooner than later.
    Is not cool to have a Windows 10 Powered Xbox One, with state of the art Face Authentication, but when you want to enable Store Security for purchases, the only option is a D-Pad combination loool. (because Windows Hello is curently absent from Xbox One)
  • Haha yeah seems stupid. Hopefully they'll fix it fast so we can show thise PS dudes how it's done. Though I do see a lot of accidental purchases haha
  • Do not worry about accidental Purchases. Windows Hello is nearly Perfect on Windows 10 PCs/Tablets (unlike Phones that is currently very weak.).
    ​You click to purchase a Store Item, then Windows Hello instantly pops up and immediately verifies you if you have a RealSense Camera, or waits to enter the fingerprint if you using that method. Once it verifies you then the purchase does not happen automatically, you still need to manually move on, select payment and then reconfirm the purchase before you finalize it.
  • What is the difference between Kinect for the Xbox One and for Windows v2?
  • A $50 adapter. 
  • It's so cool to see all of this coming together.   So to get this right, XBox One is currently uses a low-grade form of Windows Hello, so to say, to log people in (full-body skeletal analysis)?   So this is adding in the high-quality iris scanning or is it using another form of enterprise-grade biometric authentication?
  • Interesting and cool but good grief because I sold my Kinect for Windows v2 and bought an Intel F200 earlier this year because my understanding was that Kinect would not be supported for Windows Hello since it doesn't have Intel Realsense 3D. The Intel F200 works great for Windows Hello but using the new Skype Video app the video is all messed up (It works fine with the Skype desktop app and Windows Camera app) and also it gives intermittent connectivity problems with any type of USB 3.0 extension cable or hub but works plugged in directly. Hopefully there will be an official non-developer oriented solution for Windows Hello for desktop computers soon.
  • You'd think under their lifecam series to give it new life
  • Is there a way to use Kinect off an old XBox 360?
  • Is there a way you can read the article and see if your question is answered? HINT: the answer is in there.
  • Thats some mighty shade you threw there. LOL...
  • There may be a work around. All Daniel said was it doesn't "appear" to be supported but they haven't actually tried it yet. I know this was said earlier about the sdk but people got it working with the older 360 kinect. Let's wait and see... I'm gonna give it a shot ance I have one somewhere. Just gotta find it.
  • How about 360 kinect
  • It says in the article that it is not supported.
  • How about reading the article?  
  • This is great news! Though we'd need a formal release of the Realsense camera already.
  • Gee, since they've made the Kinect on Xbox virtually useles.....
  • Funny I use mine literally every day. Your definition of useless must be wrong.
  • We don't play games on our Xbox One.  We got it for completely different reasons, and that LARGELY depended on the ability to have BOTH gesture control and voice control.  We never wanted to have to touch a stupid controller.  Now that's gone.  There are times when you simply do not want to make a bunch of noise by barking commands at your TV.  We used gesture 80% of the time, voice 20%.  If Microsoft has no plans to bring gestures back and expand the worth of the Xbox BEYOND stupid gaming, then there's simply no reason to keep the thing. We can load apps directly onto our TV and use its remote control. 
  • You're a real ****** gem, aren't ya?
  • All things you could accomplish without an xbox. Stupid, is buying a gaming system specifically for things other than gaming.
  • Works perfectly for voice navigation throughout the system... check. Works perfectly in games that use Kinect... check. Works perfectly for instant sign-in... check.  
  • Yeah, sure. Removing gestures for navigating the UI that statistically no one uses really makes  Kinect useless. You're like totally right. You can't do anything else with  Kinect.
  • It's the primary reason we got it.  Gesture first, voice second, manual input only if absolutely necessary.  Buh-bye Xbox.
  • Gestures were slow and unreliable. Troll somewhere else. Or make good on your promise to get rid of the "stupid" gaming system that still plays "stupid" games and move along.
  • You're the one trolling, actually. He's merely putting forth a very valid complaint. You're also dead wrong about gestures being "slow and unreliable". They worked flawlessly for those skilled in using them. Just because you fell off your bike doesn't mean that bikes don't work.
  • I thought they canned Kinect for Windows?
  • No. They're selling one Kinect SKU for both Windows and Xbox. You just need an adapter to use it with your PC.
  • What's the point of this? If the Kinect already signs you in with face recognition why do you need Windows hello?
  • This is for PC.
  • Oh, you mean connect the kinect hardware to your PC to take advantage of Hello.  That makes sense.
  • What epic
  • It would be cool if you could use iris scan on your phone as an authentication token to login to any of your windows hardware.
  • Yes. ^ This! Or use any device to log into any other device within Bluetooth range.
  • Oh, please, that doesn't even work half the time on the 950.  I gave up putting up with that poor tech and turned it off.  PIN only, now.  What a waste.
  • You must have bad luck it works amazingly for me.  I wonder if eye colour or any other attributes can create a better experience.
  • I doubt he even owns a 950. He's been such a complainer about everything MS he's full of it about something, either the phone or the scanner not working.
  • What Lumia in background
  • I have a Kinect plugged into my pc, but its always awake, so I only log in after an update. I will still set it up though :-)  
  • This is interesting...will def give it a go when I get home. Also link says 'But' instead of 'Buy' for the kinect.
  • Does hey Cortana work with the Kinect mic?
  • yes the mic is seen by windows so works fine with hey cortana, up until now the only way to use the video on the kinect is on skype.
  • Someone send me a Kinect and a Windows 10 PC so I can test this!
  • What about the Xbox 360 Kinect?
  • Ok, Cool but, there is No freaking way I am going to mount a Xbox one Kinect on my flat monitor....
  • What's the face-sensing distance, by the way? Anyone have information on that?  
  • Would be nice if a windows mobile could unlock your pc, tried to find a setting last night.. Not sure if bluetooth would be secure enough but if connect via usb and not disconnected between lock and unlock.
  • I miss the gesture option, actually. However, I'm pretty satisfied with the Kinect on Xbone. It has been far more useful than the 360 version.
  • This isn't working. I have the adapter and i've done the registry edit. Windows Update isn't finding any new drivers and I don't see Kinect in my Device Manager.   Do I have to have the Kinect SDK? I've got that too? Is my processor not supported? It's a i52500k.