Password managers like LastPass are the most secure way to generate and store passwords for all your favorite sites. And, if you want to make them a little easier to use, you can log into your LastPass vault instantaneously using just your fingerprint.

You don’t need Windows Hello to do this, either. LastPass can use the Windows Biometric Framework—which is available in Windows 7, 8, and 10—to unlock your password vault with a fingerprint. This works with the standard LastPass browser extensions, just like unlocking your password vault with a fingerprint on a modern iPhone or Android phone.

RELATED: Why You Should Use a Password Manager, and How to Get Started

What You’ll Need

To do this, you’ll need three things:

  • A fingerprint reader that supports the Windows Biometric Framework. Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint readers built into modern Windows 10 laptops will work, as well as USB readers like the Eikon Mini. Older fingerprint readers that aren’t Windows Hello-compatible should also work, including fingerprint readers built into Windows 7 laptops. Just make sure it supports the Windows Biometric Framework.
  • A LastPass Premium subscription. This advanced authentication option requires the LastPass Premium subscription, which costs $12 per year.
  • The LastPass Universal Windows Installer. Even if you already have the standard LastPass browser extensions installed, the installer available from the LastPass website includes additional software that enables fingerprint reading and other advanced features, like sharing your login state between different web browsers so you only have to sign in—or out—once per session. Run the installer first or you won’t be able to enable this feature.

With all that in hand, let’s set it up.

Step One: Set Up Your Fingerprint Reader

You’ll need to set up your fingerprint reader and enroll a fingerprint before this will work. If you skip this step, LastPass will ask you to enroll a fingerprint using your fingerprint reader’s software before it can enable fingerprint reader support.

On Windows 10, head to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in Options and add fingerprints under the Windows Hello section. The same fingerprints you use for Windows Hello will be used for LastPass and other applications that use the Windows Biometric Framework.

On Windows 7 and 8, you may need to use the utility software included with your fingerprint reader’s hardware drivers to install this feature. Consult the manufacturer’s website for drivers if you don’t have them installed. If your fingerprint reader came built in to a laptop, check the laptop manufacturer’s website. You may also find a way to enroll fingerprints from Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Biometric Devices.

Step Two: Enable Fingerprint Reading in LastPass

To enable fingerprint reading, sign into the LastPass browser extension in your web browser of choice. Click the LastPass extension button and select “My Vault”.

Click your name at the top of your vault page and select “Account Settings”.

Click the “Multifactor Options” tab. You’ll see “Fingerprint / Smart Card” as an option here. Click the “Edit” button to the right of it.

If everything is set up properly, you’ll be able to select “Windows Fingerprint Reader” from the Type box and set the Enabled box to “Yes”.

You’ll be asked to enable additional browser extension features if the options here aren’t available. Follow the instructions LastPass provides.

Click “Update” and LastPass will ask you for your master password. The browser extension will then ask you to swipe your finger on your fingerprint reader to set up fingerprint authentication.

The next time you sign into your LastPass password vault on your PC, you’ll be able to quickly unlock your vault with your fingerprint. You won’t have to type your master password. Easy!

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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