How-To Geek

How to Use the New Picture Password and PIN Logon in Windows 8

Windows 8 introduces two new ways of authenticating yourself other than just using a password. Now you can use a Picture Password, which uses gestures, as well as PIN code. Here’s how they both work.

Setting Up A Picture Password

Creating a Picture Password is done through the new Metro Control Panel, so to get started, launch it from the new start screen.


In the left-hand panel select users, and the option to create a Picture Password will appear on the right hand side.


Then you will be prompted for your current password.


You now have to select a picture that will be used to pick out the secret gestures on, so click the Choose picture button.


This will bring up the new Metro file picker, which will display all your pictures that you have in the Pictures library as tiles, where you can simply click on a picture and click the Open button.


You’ll get a confirmation, where you’ll want to select “Use this picture”.


Now you’ll be asked to set up your gestures, which can be clicks, straight lines, or circles. If you’re using the mouse, clicks are probably the best idea.


For example, you can choose 3 clicks on various parts of the tree in the picture.


You can even mix it up and add a circle, just remember when using circles that you also have to remember the size of the circle.


Finally you could add a straight line, but remember that the length of  the line will matter when you have to enter your password, not only the location.


Now when you need to log in, you will be presented with a screen that looks something like this.


You will now need to input your gestures, a nice feature if you really don’t care for remembering a password, and are not that worried about security!

Note: obviously the gestures are really meant for a touch screen.

Setting Up A PIN

A PIN (Personal Identification Number) is almost the same as a password except you can only use numbers, and it must be 4 digits long—which doesn’t seem that secure, but there’s a chance they will allow longer PIN codes in future versions of Windows 8.

To setup a PIN, head to the Metro Control Panel, click on Users, and then click on Create a PIN.


Now you will have input your password.


Now you will be asked what PIN you want to use, remember 4 DIGITS.


Now when you go to log in, all you have to do is input the 4 Digit number.


Keep in mind that you can continue using a password if you prefer.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 09/29/11

Comments (9)

  1. George


  2. A

    I really like the picture password the only problem is that when you’re entering it it shows the gestures you make so that they can be easily seen, and there is currenlty no options to change this.

  3. tommy2rs

    I’d be more impressed if the gesture I could use was the same one I use to salute idiots on the road.

  4. sam

    wait how am i suppose to remember the exat radius of the circle or the exact length is the straight line?
    no i think using a comminution of letter is much easier to remeber after all we’re not machines we cannot remember the exact position and the length of the lines we draw

  5. frostfever

    I’m thinking the requirement for radius and length will be loosely translated seeing how its meant for a touch screen. I’m sure they will have a fancy algorithm to match pixels in the input and source pictures.

    The other offered input is the pin and its 4 letters so security is not their main concern. Its more of a convenience feature so that you won’t have to put your full password in every time.

    BTW I had to look up the word comminution . I’m assuming instead of circles and lines you are suggesting drawing letters on the screen like the Palm Pilots and cell phones use with a stylus. Which would work too.

  6. rohn

    a 4 digit PIN?!?!

    You have got to be kidding! That has to be the worst “security” decision in all time. Regressing from 8 to 4 digits, in these of graphic card and botnet/cloud brute force hacking! So now people will use their bank PIN on the computer, which will be hacked and expose their pin. Great idea. MORONS!

    I recently read an article suggesting that MS’s 2 year old security initiative was running out of steam. This idiotic design decision is proof positive!

  7. dlgn

    WHY would anyone use PIN when they could use a password, which is exactly the same, except without the stupid number requirement (or the 4-character requirement, which will probably be removed, which embodies pure idiocy so much I doubt even MS could miss it).

    In other words, there are an infinite number of passwords, but only 10,000 possible PINs. Are they trying to make it pathetically easy for crackers to break into our computers? Why would anyone even want two, let alone three different types of security if you only need to fill in one for access–all you would be doing would be giving crackers more ways to break into your computer. They could easily use a number generator to find your PIN.

    Please tell me this is a joke, I didn’t think even MS could be that stupid.

  8. Riddle

    well , it seem that some people are so dumb that Mr.Bill decided to give them a hand ..
    why blame their selves ?? now they can blame MS .
    and seriously , I’ve seen people exposing their passwords as the Hint feature .you can’t call that a password ,that’s even dumber than having a 4 digit PIN .

  9. Xena


    Even if the four-digits can’t be infinity, or if you still have a normal password, people might still want to enter a pin number as it’d much more easier for those who doesn’t want to type their passwords and it the amount of security breach becomes far less since most people have same pass for everything..

    Surely, they can type their credit card pins, but its up to them. Some people use their credit card numbers as passwords, don’t you think that’s much more dangerous? Microsft can’t really be blamed for the stupid things their users do.

    @Riddle Bill gates doesn’t reallly bother that much into Microsoft stuff anymore :P Steve Ballmar does xD

More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!