Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Windows Hello - you get addicted to it!

Recently I had the chance to get an Intel(R) RealSense(TM) Camera to test Windows Hello. I use it now for 4 weeks and believe me you get addicted to it. Its so cool to sit in front of you PC and in a fraction of a second you are logged in without typing your password.

How to set it up step by step.

1. First of all you need a Hello capable device. There are a few options. 
Either you buy or hava a maschine where this freaky new feature is builtin.
Hardware that allows this either had a fingerprint reader, Iris scanner or even the Intel Realsense Camera (currently the only web camera that support this feature)

Microsoft Hardware with Hello Support: 
  • Microsoft Surface Pro4 (Microsoft own developed infrared sensor)
  • Microsoft Surface Book (Microsoft own developed infrared sensor)
  • Microsoft Lumia 950 (Iris scanner)

Notebooks with Intel RealSense Camera:
  • Dell Inspiron 5548
  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E550
  • Asus N551JQ
  • Asus X751LD
  • Asus ROG G771JM 

All in One PCs with Intel RealSense Camera:
  • Dell Inspiron 700
  • HP Sprout
  • Lenovo B5030

Refer to:

Or you buy the Intel RealSense Developer Kit (just for IT Pros with good business justification. Home users forget it - better buy the right hardware! I will tell you at the end!)

To get this kit you have to register first with Intel (on Click Intel website).

Then you can buy it here:

Cost is currently 99 US-$ plus shipping (plus taxes, which made it very expensive for me as I ordered it to Germany and had a lot of fun with German customs!)

But be careful. This camera is a developer kit with limited warranty (90 days). Its a very large and heavy. It has the size of 3 to 4 regular webcams. And for correct function you really need an USB3 connection to your PC.

When you had that all then you plug it in.

Since mid-november 2015 Microsoft delivers through Windows Update also an updated driver for it. With this driver you can use the RealSense camera also with Skype (for proper function select the "Intel(R) RealSense(TM) 3D Camera Virtual Driver")

There you can choose out of 3 different RealSense drivers. Try them out with Skype - its fun. In the picture below you see the "Depth" driver which is used to recognize your face. The measurement is much more granular as you may think out of this picture below.

Microsoft did tests with a large bunch of identical twins. The "wrong" twin could not login to the system. And just making a picture also not. The sensor also take advantage of infrared. So beheading would also not really help.

When you have connected all and the driver is installed then best is to reboot the machine.

2. Now lets setup Windows Hello

Go to Settings -> Account -> Sign-in options

Step 1: Define a PIN for this you have to enter your domain password.

Keep in mind your PIN is only stored on your device. You have to setup your PIN each time on each different device you want to use it. The PIN is stored securely with Windows Passport. To learn more about Windows Passport checkout this here

Why do you need the PIN?
It might be you are injured or there is a malfunction with the camera or for any other reason your face is not recognized. Then you have another fallback option to logon with your PIN. You could even use your password but we want to get rid of passwords. So this is really a good option and a must have for the setup.

Step 2: Click on Windows Hello: Face "Set Up"


Step 3: Click on "Get started"
Step 4: Type in the PIN you have defined in Step 1

Step 5: Let the camera recognize your face.


Step 6: Repeat the step 5 through click on "Improve recognition". When you wear glasses then its best to repeat the step without glasses also. When your are finished simply close the dialog.

When you now lock your screen Windows is looking for you with the little eye symbol. Whenever your screen get black in power saving mode then you will see that the indicator light from the camera also went off. The camera is only looking for you while you are not in front of the PC until power saving kicks in. And just a couple seconds after you logged on.

The biometric data of your face is also stored on your device with Windows Password. It is not transfered to your active directory.

Why is the Intel Developer Kit only for IT Pros with a good business justification?
  1. The camera is good for testing in a larger environment.
  2. For day to day use in a mobile device built-in solutions are much better. The Intel developer kit camera is huge and heavy to cary on. I do that for demonstration purposes for my customers but its not really fun in cable handling.
  3. Intel asks you for the reason why they should ship that developer kit to you. I had a good justification but that does not mean you have also a good one.
  4. When you are IT admin or IT specialist in a large organization e.g. SIEMENS or MICROSOFT then this might be a good one. If you want to use it just by your own. Better you look for integrated hardware. (These guys only buy the stuff for testing to tell then their manager also to buy the integrated HW solutions like Dell Inspiron 5548).

Have fun playing with this awesome feature. I love it!

#### UPDATE 1 for users of Surface Pro3  - March 19th 2016####
The new TypeCover with Fingerprint Reader enables Windows Hello Feature also on Surface Pro3 DEVICES.

Checkout this blog as well:  

#### UPDATE 1 END ####