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What is Windows Hello and what’s the best gear for it in 2020?

Reviewed By: Kevin Pocock

Last Updated on July 15, 2024
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Ah passwords. The bane of our technological lives as well as perhaps the single most important piece of information we possess.

Every single time you type in Password123 to access your bank account, it is those few characters that keep your financial security in your own hands. Surely there must be a better way? Our phones are now scanning our faces or our fingerprints in an effort to keep our lives a bit more secure, but why aren’t we more concerned with our laptops or desktop PCs in general. After all, we access just as much sensitive information there. Maybe it’s work files or data, gigabytes of personal family photographs of the children that you certainly wouldn’t want to fall into nefarious hands or a whole host of other essential, private information.

The thing is, as humans, we seem to be programmed to share information about ourselves. This certainly does not fit with the concept of keeping a password secret. Granted, you might not actually openly share the word itself, but over the past few years, we have been socially engineered to basically hand out information about ourselves for free.

Within this information we give away usually in the guise of some post or other on Facebook we often subconsciously include all the information we base our passwords on.

Take a look at this image for an example. This survey has been doing the rounds on the social networks while people have been locked down and looking for something to keep them entertained. I saw it on a phenomenal amount of my friends’ walls, and I’m sure you have seen it too.

Have a read of the questions and answers, and it will hopefully illustrate just how easy it is to accidentally give your personal information away without even realizing it.

A recent survey doing the rounds on Facebook

What you might not know, or have even heard of is a feature built into Windows 10 called Hello. It’s possible you may have seen it mentioned if you are the kind of person who trawls through settings on your machine, but chances are you haven’t paid any attention to setting it up once you realized you needed some extra hardware.

So what is Windows Hello?

This is the easy bit. It’s an alternative way to log in to Windows without a password or PIN. Depending on what you add to your system, it can be as simple as a fingerprint or as complicated as facial recognition. It’s called biometrics, and it is becoming increasingly prevalent in everyday life.

Every time you pick up your smartphone and use your face to unlock it, it’s not just matching simple features, or you would be able to trick it with a photograph. Your face can chance – maybe you grow a beard, occasionally wear glasses, pick up a new Rambo scar. Facial recognition is a tricky concept for your PC to master, so you can’t just use any only camera.

We’ve already discovered passwords are, at best, a massive inconvenience and a worst an open window into your personal life, especially when you use the same one or variations, everywhere you need to log in. 

Windows Hello gives you a handy way to dispense with them, improve your user experience, and toughen up your personal security to boot. What’s not to love?

Let’s see how Microsoft ultimately makes the operation sound bland and beyond the reach of the everyday user.

“Windows Hello lets a user authenticate a Microsoft account or a non-Microsoft service that supports Fast Identity Online (FIDO) by having the user set up a gesture such as a facial scan, iris scan or fingerprint to log into a device”, Anoosh Saboori, senior program manager lead at Microsoft said.

Wow. Count me in. 

In not promoting this features more heavily to the regular Windows 10 user, Microsoft is undoubtedly saving time on technical help – introducing potentially external hardware issues to the masses is not a simple thing to do. Still, they are also potentially causing headaches for people who suddenly find their passwords have been compromised.

Taking all that into consideration, we now bring you the best devices to make your trip with Windows Hello and a more secure PC a reality. 

Let’s see what’s out there.


Do you need any of the items here? Technically not. Will they make your PC more user-friendly and more secure. Absolutely. You may decide if you want to go down this route that a fingerprint scanner will suffice. They are the cheapest option and still ultimately fulfill the brief of logging into Windows 10 with the minimum of fuss. For us though, it is pretty cool to be able just to sit down and be logged in without having to lift a finger. It costs more yes, but the technology is excellent.

Our choice here is also not going to be a webcam. We are going for the Tobii Eye-Tracker because we are all gamers at heart, and it offers something a little different. The cameras all offer medium resolution webcams as well. Still, ultimately, that doesn’t work for us and we don’t want two cams on our monitors, having to go for something like the Logitech C922 to fulfill our video calling needs.

Things to consider

What version of Windows do you have?

It needs to be Windows 10. Make sure you have Microsoft’s latest operating system and that it is kept up to date with drivers.

I wear glasses – will a camera still work?

In software setup Windows Hello will allow you to take images of yourself both with and without your glasses, so if you aren’t a full-time wearer you needn’t worry.

Paul is a contributor to PC Guide, having covered news coverage, Raspberry Pi, Windows releases and peripherals - among other things - across the site.