Troubleshoot Windows Hello fingerprint issues on Windows 10

By Alexandra Bagratian | January 9, 2019 |

greater than 10 minutes

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These days privacy and security are everything: modern devices are packed with sensitive data, and you have to do your best to keep prying eyes at bay. In light of this situation, Windows 10 users are lucky to have Windows Hello at hand. In fact, this biometrics-based technology is a real boon when it comes to adding extra protection to your PC. For instance, the feature provides you with an opportunity to sign in to your account with your fingerprint, which is unique and therefore perfect for security purposes.

That said, things often go astray. We assume your Windows 10 fingerprint reader has been acting up lately and that is why you are here. The good thing is, there is no reason whatsoever to get worked up: this article offers a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to set up fingerprints on a Windows 10 device and how to fix Windows 10 fingerprint reader not working.

Our tips are intuitive and easy to follow, so you are sure to succeed in resolving your fingerprint issue even if you are a PC novice. For maximum effectiveness, we insist that your troubleshooting adventure commence with the first fix on our list. If it fails to help you, keep working your way down, trying our methods one by one. The point is, they are arranged in such a way that the most common scenarios are addressed first while less frequent culprits are examined later.

How to configure Windows Hello fingerprint login on Windows 10?

The Windows Hello fingerprint functionality is a much stronger form of authentication than a traditional password. Thus, it is high time you found out how to set up fingerprints on a Windows 10 device:

  1. Click the Start button (the Windows logo) on your Taskbar.
  2. Open the Settings menu (click the gear-shaped icon).
  3. Select the Accounts option to proceed.
  4. In the left-pane menu, move to Sign-in options.
  5. In the right pane, locate Windows Hello.
  6. Under Fingerprint, click the Set up button.
  7. You will be prompted to create a PIN (if you don’t have one).
  8. Click on Get started and key in your PIN.
  9. Place your finger on the fingerprint scanner. Wait until your fingerprint is scanned.
  10. You may click Add another to get another finger of yours scanned for sign-in purposes.

Once you are done, exit the program. Now you can unlock your Win 10 PC with just a swipe.

Why is fingerprint not working on Windows 10?

Unfortunately, there is a whole lot of digging required to answer this question. Nevertheless, we’ve done a good job: here you can find an exhaustive list of the possible culprits behind the Fingerprint not working on Windows 10 nuisance. In a nutshell, Windows Hello fingerprint problems usually stem from:

  • hardware issues
  • software conflicts
  • system corruption
  • faulty, incompatible or obsolete drivers
  • incorrect settings

Whichever is the issue affecting your PC, you will find the easiest way to get things right below.

How to fix Windows 10 fingerprint reader not working?

Before carrying out a thorough investigation, make sure to check up on a few things:

  1. Windows Hello is exclusive to Windows 10 devices. Thus, if you are running another version of Microsoft’s OS, you can’t use the functionality in question. In such a case, consider upgrading to Windows 10. It’s quite nice, honestly, and Windows Hello is not the only cool feature the new operating system offers. If you can’t install Windows 10 due to some reason, do not hesitate to check our detailed guide.
  2. Try restarting your PC. In fact, although this move is widely assumed to be the first step in any troubleshooting adventure, users tend to forget about this simple solution and jump to more sophisticated methods.
  3. Use the right finger, finger position, and finger move when trying to log on to your computer. The catch is, you are supposed to be doing precisely what you were doing when registering your fingerprint.
  4. Make sure your Win 10 device is connected to the Internet. Otherwise, the Windows Hello technology won’t work.

If the tips above have been to no avail, take a deep breath and dive in.

  • Check the fingerprint scanner

If the fingerprint reader on your Windows 10 device is not working the way it is supposed to, there is no need to panic. First and foremost, let’s check if there are any obvious hardware issues at play.

To begin with, check whether your fingerprint scanner is dusty or dirty. If it is far from being crystal clean, now is the best time to get it in tip-top shape. Get a piece of clean cloth and use it to gently wipe your fingerprint scanner. In many cases, this helps.

Note: Avoid using alcohol-based substances for the clean-up procedure, and do not pour any liquid on the hardware. If there are scratches on the scanner’s sensor, you are better off sending your machine for repair.

  • Run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter

Troubleshooting your built-in biometric device in Windows 10 is quite a straightforward procedure thanks to the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter your system comes with:

  1. Launch the Settings app by concurrently pressing the Windows logo key and the I button.
  2. Navigate to the Update and Security section and click on it.
  3. Go to the left-pane menu and navigate to Troubleshoot.
  4. Move to the right pane. Under the Find and fix other problems section, scroll down until you stumble upon Hardware and devices.
  5. Click Run the troubleshooter.

If the tool fails to find what is causing your fingerprint scanner to malfunction, move on to the following fix.

  • Reset your fingerprint login

If the issue persists, re-enrolling your fingerprint might be extremely helpful. Indeed, a lot of users claim that it proves so. As such, here is what you should do:

  1. Open the Search box on your computer. You can find it in your Start menu or by pressing the Windows logo + S shortcut on your keyboard.
  2. Input “sign-in” (without quotes) in the Search area and hit Enter.
  3. You’ll be taken to the Accounts menu.
  4. Once there, move down to Sign-in options.
  5. Jump to the right-pane section.
  6. Under Windows Hello, click the Set up button.

Follow the on-screen prompts to set up fingerprint login.

  • Update your fingerprint reader driver

Biometrics often fails to work on Windows 10 due to driver issues, so chances are your fingerprint reader driver is past its sell-by date. In such a scenario, it is important that you update the driver as soon as possible.

To get the issue resolved, you can search for the necessary updates online. In this case, you should be really careful as downloading and installing the wrong software can cause your system to go turbulent.

What we strongly advise you is employing Auslogics Driver Updater to get the job done. This intuitive and powerful tool will update and fix all your driver software – not only the fingerprint reader driver that is behind your current headache. Your system will get exactly those drivers it needs to perform at its best. This ensures no driver-related issues will come up out of the blue.

That said, there is another, though a more complicated, method to get the necessary updates. It implies using the built-in Device Manager utility. Here is what you are supposed to do:

  1. Right-click on the Windows logo icon – the one that is always visible on your Taskbar. This will launch the Power User menu.
  2. Pick Device Manager. Then go to the Biometric Devices section and expand it with the right click of your mouse.
  3. Locate your fingerprint reader. It might be seen as an unidentified device.
  4. Right-click the device and update its driver by selecting the appropriate option.
  5. Make sure to select the option named “Search automatically for updated driver software”.

Hopefully, updating your fingerprint reader driver has fixed your problem.

    If you cannot resolve the
    problem yourself, you can
    ask our certified PC technicians for immediate assistance in the chat right on this page.
  • Roll back the fingerprint reader driver

If the fingerprint issue came up after updates found their way to your PC, there is a high chance your system is not okay with the new fingerprint reader driver. In a situation like this, your best bet is to roll back the problematic driver to its previous version:

  1. Open the Device Manager applet (Windows logo key + X -> Device Manager).
  2. Locate your fingerprint reader in the Biometric Devices section.
  3. Double-click the device to open its properties.
  4. Click Roll Back Driver.
  5. Then click OK.

This way you will get the previously installed driver instead of your current one.

  • Re-install your fingerprint software

If the previous fixes have failed you, re-installing the fingerprint reader software should be your next move. To do that, follow the tips below:

  1. Open the Settings app (Windows logo +I).
  2. Click on the Apps section.
  3. Once in Apps and Features, locate your fingerprint reader.
  4. Click on the software and select Uninstall.
  5. Click Uninstall to provide confirmation.
  6. Then open Device Manager again (by the way, you can do that by simultaneously pressing the Windows logo key and R and typing devmgmt.msc into the Run bar).
  7. Expand Biometric devices and right-click your fingerprint reader.
  8. Click Uninstall device.
  9. Then click Uninstall again to confirm your action.

Finally, restart your PC and see how things go.

  • Prevent your PC from disabling your USB fingerprint reader

Using a USB fingerprint reader? Then your computer might be configured to turn off USB devices, which brings about your problem. Here is how to disable the setting:

  1. Open Device Manager (see the previous fix if you have forgotten how to access this handy utility).
  2. Expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers section.
  3. Locate USB Root Hub. Double-click it.
  4. Once in the USB Root Hub Properties window, navigate to the Power Management tab.
  5. Uncheck the Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power option box.

It is essential that your repeat these steps for all your USB Root Hub entries in Device Manager.

  • Check your power management settings

There is a scenario where you cannot log on to Windows 10 with your finger after your PC wakes from sleep. Luckily, this issue is easily fixable: you just need to tweak your power management settings. This fix is very similar to the previous one:

  1. Launch the Device Manager program and go to Biometrics devices.
  2. Expand the section and locate your fingerprint software.
  3. Double-click it to enter its properties.
  4. Go to the Power Management tab.
  5. Deselect Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.

Now check if you can use biometric fingerprint login.

  • Restart the Credential Manager service

In some cases, the Credential Manager service is to blame for the Windows 10 fingerprint reader not working drama. This means it might prove helpful to restart the service in question:

  1. Open the Run box by pressing the Windows Key + R shortcut on your keyboard.
  2. Key services.msc and click OK.
  3. In the Services window, search for the Credential Manager service.
  4. Double-click the service. The Credential Manager Properties window will open.
  5. Navigate to Service status. Click Stop.
  6. Hover your mouse cursor over the Start button and click it to restart the service.
  7. Click Apply. Then click on OK so that your changes can take effect.

Now check if this escapade has rectified your problem.

  • Switch to a local account

Sometimes biometric fingerprint scanning fails when one is using a Microsoft account. In a case like this, the easiest solution is to migrate to a local account:

  1. Open Settings and select Account.
  2. Click the Sign in with a local account instead link.
  3. Input your current password and click Next to proceed.
  4. Enter your local account login credentials.
  5. Click Next.

Finally, click Sign out and finish.

  • Create a new user account

There is a chance you might need to create a new user account on your PC. Fortunately, the procedure is pretty simple:

  1. Run the Settings app. Then click Accounts.
  2. Move to Family & other users.
  3. Select Add someone else to this PC.
  4. Click I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.
  5. Opt for Add a user without a Microsoft account.
  6. Select a user name for the new account.
  7. Then enter a new password and password hint.
  8. Click Next to proceed.

Then check if you can log on to your new account with your fingerprint.

  • Recreate your PIN

No luck so far? Well, your PIN might be behind the fingerprint problem. If that is the case, to make things right, you need to remove your PIN and then add it:

  1. Open your Start menu and click the gear-shaped icon in order to launch the Settings app.
  2. Once it is up and running, click Accounts and proceed to Sign-in options.
  3. Navigate to the PIN section.
  4. Click on the Remove button.
  5. Click Remove again when prompted.
  6. Input your Microsoft Account password and click OK.
  7. Now go back to Sign-in options.
  8. Under PIN, click on Add.
  9. Input your password.
  10. Click Sign in.
  11. Now tap in your new PIN.
  12. Click OK to save the changes.

We hope recreating your PIN has made the fingerprint reader workable again.

  • Get another fingerprint reader

If you have made it this far, maybe the best option for you is to switch to another fingerprint reader. Perhaps your current one is corrupted or incompatible with your system. If opting for different software doesn’t help, continue with the repair process.

  • Enable Biometrics via the Local Group Policy Editor

Windows 10 Enterprise, Education, and Pro users may rejoice: there is a simple fix that is likely to resolve their fingerprint drama in just a few clicks. Here is what should be done:

  1. Press and hold the Windows logo key. Then press the R button.
  2. Once the Run app is up and running, input gpedit.msc and hit Enter.
  3. Welcome to the Local Group Policy Editor. Go to the left pane and expand the Computer Configuration entry.
  4. Then expand Administrative Templates.
  5. Now it is Windows Components that you should expand.
  6. Select Biometrics.
  7. In the right pane, locate Allow the use of biometrics. Double-click it.
  8. If you see that this setting is not configured, then that is where the problem lies.
  9. Select Enabled. Then click Apply and OK.
  10. Then double-click Allow user to log in using biometrics.
  11. Choose Enabled. Make sure to click Apply and OK for the changes to become effective.

We hope now you can unlock your PC with your fingerprint.

  • Repair your system files

System file corruption being quite a widespread problem, Microsoft has equipped its OS with a built-in repair utility called System File Checker (SFC). The time has come to run the thing since some of your system files might be missing or damaged, thereby causing the fingerprint reader to malfunction. So, to rectify things, hurry up and do the following:

  1. Open the Power User menu by simultaneously pressing the Windows logo key and the X key.
  2. Select Command Prompt (Admin).
  3. Input sfc /scannow into the dialog box. Press Enter to run the command.
  4. Wait until your system files are scanned.
  5. Restart your PC.

Your system file problems will be resolved at boot. This should fix your fingerprint issues as well.

Have our tips helped in fixing your biometric fingerprint problems?

If you have any ideas or questions regarding the issue, do not hesitate to leave your comments below!

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