Windows 10 offers several different ways to sign in to the operating system. You can access these choices in the Settings App (WinKey + I). Once there, choose Accounts, then Sign-in Options. These options will vary depending on which Windows 10 build is currently installed on your computer.
In this Quick Tip we’ll only be focusing on three of them:
- Require sign-in – toggles whether a password is required when your system wakes from Sleep Mode
- Password – Allows you to Create/Change a password
- PIN – Allows you to create a 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use in place of a Password
Since Windows Hello is not available on my device, it won’t be discussed in this article. Also, Picture Password is slightly more involved and for that reason it, too, will not be addressed.
If your computer is in a public environment, such as work, then you may want to have Windows ask for a password when it wakes up. If at home, then it may be less critical.
Choosing this option will bring up a window asking you to confirm your current password. If you haven’t already set one up, now is the time to do so. In any case, once Microsoft is happy (ie, has verified) with the password you’ve entered, you’ll have the opportunity to change it.
There are many reasons you might want to do this. Maybe your account has been hacked (a common occurrence these days), or maybe you have an angry, vindictive ex-“Significant Other” in your life whom you no longer trust with this information.
Try to choose a strong password that is easy for you to remember but hard for anyone else to guess. Making it easy to type is also a plus. Incredibly, one of the most common passwords in use today is the word, “password”! Now, that’s just a special kind of stupid. Another popular choice is “123456789”. Need I say more?
Don’t use your birthday, your pet’s name, or anything else easily guessable by a co-worker or family member.
Note: If you change your password, keep in mind that the password you use to access your Microsoft eMail account will change, too. The same goes for changing your eMail account password. Everything in the Microsoft world is tightly connected one way or another.
A PIN is a convenient 4-digit number that you can use to access your computer. In most cases this is much easier than trying to remember a long, complex password.
A PIN can actually be better for gaining access to your computer than a password alone. Here’s why–
A Microsoft password will be used to gain access to your computer, your Microsoft account, and any other Windows 10 device you own. A PIN, on the other hand, is device-specific. You can use a unique PIN for each device you own. This means that if your laptop is stolen, and the thief somehow figures out the PIN, he will have access to that stolen laptop, but he will not be able to use that PIN for all your other devices. This presumes you have used a different PIN for each device ( a good idea).
If you choose to click the Add Button, Windows 10 will prompt you for your current password and, once verified, you can add a PIN. Once a PIN is established, you will be prompted for that easy-to-remember 4-digit number next time, instead of an arduous, convoluted password. This makes life much easier for you and more miserable for the thief– a win-win situation in my book.
Final Thoughts – Be Smart
Windows 10 has been created with security in mind. The above three elements of this post demonstrate that Microsoft has made a realistic effort in that important direction.
The bad guys aren’t going away. In fact, it may even be said they are winning the ongoing security wars. They get smarter every day and with their ill-gotten gains are able to purchase more sophisticated equipment to further their nefarious exploits of naive individuals.
We have to stay on top of this and be as smart as we can possibly be. And this is not limited to the computer world, either. It also applies to nearly every aspect of our lives in this modern Age of Information.