Saturday, 9 April 2016

Hello from Windows

One of the new great little features of Windows 10 is “Windows Hello”. Windows Hello is the name for the biometric login feature that Windows 10 supports.

So far Windows Hello gives the impression that it is only supported on clear facial recognition cameras in the most modern of PCs. Apparently this is not true.
This week I bought an old Lenovo T410 from ebay. I was keen to have a spare machine that I could run the fast ring preview editions of Windows 10. Specifically the new Linux integration with the bash command line. For more about this check the Channel 9 video.

The Lenovo T410 is a poor replacement of my regular pc. The keyboard is crowded, the fan whirrs but tucked away to the right of the mouse touchpad was a fingerprint reader. When this laptop was made you had a separate security level to deal with fingerprint readers on Windows 7 however it was biometric so would Windows Hello work with it.

After doing the Windows 10 upgrade I located the Lenovo Thinkpad Fingerprint reader tools. This laptop is 4 years old and £130 from ebay so I held out no hope that it would work like the £1200 Surfacebook Windows Hello biometric. However I thought that if it could secure something it might be a worthwhile add-on.

I scanned most of my fingers on my right hand. Previously on mobile phones I found that fingerprint readers were pretty ‘hit or miss’ affairs. So not only did I hold out little hope that Windows Hello would work but I also doubted it would reliably scan at all!
The scanning was pretty painless and after doing some fingers I rebooted the laptop. Unbelievably the login screen offered me the option of a fingerprint scan using Windows Hello.

Rather unexpectedly I got Windows Hello with an otherwise unremarkable laptop.