Windows 10 can be set up with a local account and with a Microsoft Account. Users that connect a Microsoft Account to their Windows 10 user account can sign in with the password to the account, or they can set up a PIN.
Up until Windows 10 20H2, users had the option to switch between password or PIN when signing into their account. The password option is now gone which means you cannot sign in using the password unless you’re attempting to reset the PIN.
Passwordless sign in
The missing password sign-in option may seem like a bug but it’s a feature that Microsoft has added to make sign-in more secure. It forces users to sign in with a PIN no matter what. The option to switch to the password option on the lock screen has been removed.
Enable password sign-in on Windows 10
The good thing about passwordless sign-in is that it can be turned off. Doing so will restore the option to sign in with your password on the lock screen.
- Open the Settings app (Win+I keyboard shortcut).
- Go to the Accounts group of settings.
- Select the Sign-in Options tab.
- Scroll down, and turn the “Require Windows Hellow sign-in for Microsoft accounts” switch On.
- Tap Win+L to lock the desktop.
- On the lock screen, you will see a ‘Sign-in Options’ option.
- Click it and select the password option.
- Sign in with your Microsoft Account password.
Password vs PIN
Users noticed that when performing a fresh installation of earlier versions of Windows 10, the set-up process pushed them to create a PIN. Skipping the step wasn’t easy and even so, Windows 10 would later badger the user to set the PIN up.
A PIN is specific to the system it is set-up on. You may have the same Microsoft Account set-up on multiple Windows 10 systems but a PIN will always be specific to the system you set it up on.
If your PIN is compromised, you can recover it using your Microsoft Account password. The breach is limited to just one system.
In contrast to this, if your Microsoft Account’s password is compromised, you stand to lose access to your system, other systems, as well as to the online account itself where your purchases and subscriptions are managed.
To avoid this, Microsoft encourages users to sign in with a PIN. A PIN can be a simple four-digit number or it can be much longer and it can include letters as well. If you’re apprehensive about a PIN because of its length, opt for a longer one.