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Windows Hello allows you to use facial recognition to log in to your Windows 11 PC. Not all webcams are compatible though! Find out what you need, and how to set it up, here.

How Windows Hello Works with a Webcam

Windows Hello is an alternative to traditional passwords. It is designed to make signing in to your Windows 11 PC more secure and convenient.

Several of the options included in Windows Hello are biometric, meaning they rely on things like your face, fingerprint, or an iris scan to log in. It also includes a few non-biometric options, like a PIN, or a USB security key.

Microsoft’s implementation of facial recognition in Windows Hello analyzes a near-infrared image of your face to build a description of your features rather than storing an image of you — then, each time you log in, your PC compares what it sees to the description on file.

The fact that it uses a near-infrared image means you can’t use most webcams with Windows Hello, you’ll need one with an infrared camera. The Logitech Brio is great if you’re streaming, video conferencing, or recording for your channel — and it supports Windows Hello. Some higher-end laptops include both a regular webcam and an infrared camera, making them fully compatible with Microsoft’s facial recognition.

Logitech Brio 4K Webcam

A Great All-Around Webcam with Windows Hello Support

Note: Windows Hello Facial Recognition does not require that you use a Microsoft account or have a PIN setup.

How to Set Up Windows Hello with a Webcam

To set up facial recognition on Windows 11, click Start, type “sign in options” in the search bar, then hit Enter. Alternatively, you can navigate to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in Options.

Click the small chevron (it looks up an up arrow) in the Sign-in options window, and then click “Set Up.” If “Set Up” is not there, it probably means your webcam isn’t compatible with Windows Hello. If you’re sure that it should work, try troubleshooting your webcam.

A window that says “Welcome to Windows Hello” will pop up. Click “Get Started” in the bottom left.

If you’ve set up a PIN you’ll be prompted for it at this time. Enter it in the box. If you aren’t using a PIN, don’t worry about it — you’ll just go straight to the next step.

Enter your pin into the box

The next step is where the magic happens — you should see yourself on the screen. Follow the recommendations, and make sure your face is centered in the frame. It might take a few seconds for your PC to perform the analysis. Once it is done, you’ll automatically be moved to the next page.

Glasses, hats, masks, or anything else on your face or head can interfere with facial recognition. If you regularly change between glasses and contacts, or use your Windows 11 PC with and without a mask, you may want to click “Improve Recognition.” Improve recognition analyzes additional photos to add more information to the description your computer has on file, making it more versatile and more reliable.

Once you’re done, click “Close” in the bottom-right.

Remember, any major changes to your appearance could cause issues with facial recognition. If you do encounter problems, you can go back to the Sign-in Options menu and click “Improve Recognition” as many times as is necessary to get it working.

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Nick Lewis is a staff writer for How-To Geek. He has been using computers for 20 years --- tinkering with everything from the UI to the Windows registry to device firmware. Before How-To Geek, he used Python and C++ as a freelance programmer. In college, Nick made extensive use of Fortran while pursuing a physics degree.
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