How to Add a PIN to Your Account in Windows 10

By Rahul Saigal on November 3rd, 2015

With each new version of Windows, new and innovative features are improving the total user experience in different ways. Windows 10 is quickly growing in popularity due in part to its innovative security features, and among these security options are new sign in options like the PIN code.

You can enter a numeric PIN, or trace a pattern of gestures on a picture, or with appropriate hardware you can even use Windows Hello — a biometric sign-in method that scans your fingerprint, your face, or your iris. In this article, we’ll show you how to add a PIN to your account in Windows 10.

Why Using a PIN is a Better Option

If a password is compromised in some way, the person who has entered the system may have access to all platforms that are linked to that password. On the other hand, if a PIN is compromised, they can use it only on that device; they can’t use it to sign into your account on any other device.

In addition, the individual must be physically present in order to enter the PIN, and this is not the same with a password. If someone steals your computer they can’t sign in unless they know your PIN. Also, keep in mind that the PIN login feature is necessary if you want to take advantage of additional security features available in Windows 10 such as Windows Hello, the iris reader, or a fingerprint scanner.

And, of course, a PIN is much easier to enter on a touchscreen device like the Surface tablet.

Add a PIN to Your Account

Open the “Settings” app, and click/tap on the “Accounts” icon. Click/tap on “Sign-in options” on the left side, and click/tap on the “Add” button under “PIN” on the right side.

If prompted to verify your account password, enter your local account password and click/tap on “OK”.

If you have a Microsoft account, then enter your Microsoft account password and click/tap on “Sign in”. After entering your password to confirm your identity, enter the numbers in a dialog box. The minimum length is four digits (0–9 only; no letters or special characters allowed), but your PIN can be as long as you want. If you need to check what you’ve set at this point then select the icon to the right side of the dialog box. This will briefly reveal the number you’ve entered.

The only criteria for choosing a PIN is that it must be at least four digits long. There are no limitations on maximum length or complexity. Here are some considerations before you choose a PIN:

  • Using more digits will make the PIN harder to guess but make sure you can enter the PIN quickly and accurately, otherwise there’s little benefit over just using a password.
  • Using a simple PIN (0000, 0123, 1111, and so on) will make it very easy to guess; choose random numbers.
  • Reusing PINs from your bank accounts or credit card number should be avoided. Also, avoid using the same PIN on different devices.

Change the PIN for Your Account

Open the “Settings” app, and click/tap on the “Accounts” icon. Click/tap on “Sign-in options” on the left side, and click/tap on the “Change” button under “PIN” on the right side.

Enter your current PIN at the top, enter a new PIN and click/tap “OK”.

If you are unable to sign into Windows 10 with your PIN, you’ll be offered a link that says “Sign-in options.” When you choose that, you’re offered all of the sign-in options you’ve created so far: picture password, PIN, Windows Hello, and regular password.

Reset the PIN for Your Account

Open the “Settings” app, and click/tap on the “Accounts” icon. Click/tap on “Sign-in options” on the left side, and click/tap on the “I forgot my PIN” link under “PIN” on the right side.

Verify your account password, and proceed setting up a new PIN. Remember, if you boot to Safe mode, you’ll be able to sign in with your password, and not with any other sign-in options. Concluding this article, it’s quite easy to setup a PIN and if you’ve not yet enabled it on your device, do it now.

Rahul Saigal is a writer and all-around computer geek. Born in Kolkata, India, he works from home with all the geeky stuff and gadgets. When not working he loves to read, listen podcasts, and try new software. You can follow him on Twitter if you'd like.

  • Published 11/3/15
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