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How to set up a Picture Password on Windows 10

Windows 10 supports different types of passwords; you can use your Microsoft account’s password, a PIN, Windows Hello, Dynamic Lock and connected devices, and a Picture Password. A picture password is most suitable for tablets but if you’re on a regular laptop/desktop, you can use it almost as easily. Here’s how you can set up a picture password on Windows 10.

Set up Picture Password

Open the Settings app and go to the Accounts group of settings. Select the Sign-in Options tab.

Before you proceed, it’s a good idea to select the image you will use for the password. It shouldn’t be too small. Any image that is the same size as your screen is a good option. Smaller images can be stretched but if an image is too small, stretching it might render it unusable.

On the Sign-in Options tab, scroll down to the Picture section and click the Add button under it. You will need to enter your Microsoft account’s password, or if you’re using a local account, your system’s password. Windows 10 gives you a default image to work with however, it’s better to use your own image.

To set your own image, click ‘Choose picture’ in the bar on the left.

Select your image, and position it however you want. Once you’ve done that, click the ‘Use this picture’ button.

A picture password has three gestures and they must be executed in the same order each time. Gestures aren’t the gestures that you execute on your system i.e., they are not two, three, or four finger swipes.

Instead, you need to draw over a portion of the picture by clicking and dragging your mouse, or drag your finger over if you’re on a touch device. You can draw anything; a line, a circle, a square, or any random squiggly line so long as you remember what you drew, and which part of the picture you drew it on. Draw the three gestures and then repeat them to confirm the password.

The picture password will be saved and you can use it the next time you need to log in. If you forget the gestures you’ve set, you can always use a different method to login e.g., a PIN or your Microsoft/Local account password.

With respect to privacy, a Picture Password may not be the most secure. It’s the desktop equivalent of a pattern password that you can set on most Android phones. It is possible that someone learns your gestures by watching you enter them. When you draw gestures on the lock screen, no trailing line appears to indicate it so it’s not that easy to learn but if you need your system to be super-safe, try a PIN instead.

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