How To: Setup a Picture Password or PIN

How To Setup a Picture Password or PIN

Updated for Windows 8.1

Microsoft allows you to setup a Picture Password or a 4 digit PIN to simplify logging into your Surface Pro (1, 2 or 3) or Surface RT tablet.

If you don’t know about picture passwords, they’re a mechanism to let you draw a pattern on the screen to act as the password to unlock or log in to your Surface.

A PIN is just a 4 digit Personal Identification Number (if you ever wondered what PIN stood for) like you use for your ATM or debit card.

Both options a lot more convenient than typing out a long password but have some security ramifications. I’m not going to go into those in this article but you can read up a little about them at Security Nirvana. I’m assuming you’re a big boy or girl and can make the convenience vs. security call yourself. I’m just going to show you how to setup a picture password or PIN.

Setup a Picture Password or PIN: Setup a Picture Password

  • Find a nice picture that you want to use for your picture password
  • Make sure it’s in your Pictures folder on your Surface or in your OneDrive
  • Go to the Charms bar (swipe in from the right side of the screen)
  • Click the Settings charm
  • Select Change PC Settings
  • Select Accounts then Sign-in Options

Setup a Picture Password 1

  • Under Sign-in options select Create a picture password. You will be prompted for your full password, enter it

Setup a Picture Password 2

  • Now, you’ll get a screen with a Choose picture button. Tap it. Find the picture you want to use and select it then, click the Use this picture button when the How’s this look? screen appears

Setup a Picture Password 3

  • Draw your gestures on the screen. You will have to have 3 different gestures

Setup a Picture Password 4

  • Confirm those gestures. If you make a mistake, click Start over to try again

Setup a Picture Password 5

  • Click Finish to complete the setup of a picture password for your Surface

Setup a Picture Password 6

Pretty easy. Now let’s go over how to setup a PIN instead. It’s pretty much the same thing but not quite as many steps.

Setup a Picture Password or PIN: Setup a PIN

  • Go to the Charms bar (swipe in from the right side of the screen)
  • Click the Settings charm
  • Select Change PC Settings
  • Select Accounts then under Sign-in options select Create a PIN
  • You will be prompted for your full password, enter it

Setup a PIN 1

  • Next you’ll be asked for your PIN, enter and confirm it

Setup a PIN 2

That’s it. Simple, huh? So now instead of needing to enter a long password, you’ll just have to punch in a 4 digit PIN to access your device. It’s a lot quicker than entering a long alphanumeric password but has the previously mentioned security concerns.

It’s up to you to decide which is more important; security or convenience.

In case you’re wondering; yes you can have both a picture password and a PIN. You can switch between them via the sign-in options item below the password or PIN fields. If you’re using a picture password, you’ll have to click the Switch to password button first to see it.

Tim

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