For Windows 8 users on a tablet or touchscreen computer, Picture Passwords are a great way to secure your computer without having to break out the keyboard every time you want to log in. By having the system memorize a few gestures over a photo, you can log in a lot faster and more efficiently than you could otherwise.
I’ve found Picture Passwords to be moderately useful for desktop computers without touchscreens. It’s something you can do with a mouse, but it’s really a feature designed to make use of the operating system’s more touch-optimized experience.
So how do you set up Picture Password in Windows 8? Here’s how:
The first thing you’ll need to do is open up the Modern UI PC Settings menu. This is easily done by opening the Charms on the right side of the screen by swiping your mouse or finger from the top or bottom right corner of the screen towards the center right. Once in this menu, hit Settings.
Go to the bottom of the menu (near the lower-right corner of the screen) and select Change PC Settings.
From the settings menu, select Users. This should open up a screen with your profile picture and some basic user settings you can choose from, including your password. Click the Create a Picture Password button.
A new screen will come up that features a sample image on the right and the option to choose an image to use to create the Picture Password on the left. This page is animated to demonstrate the types of gestures you can use to set up your password. These include swipes, circles, and taps (single clicks). Select the option to choose your image to continue.
A list of images in your Pictures folder will appear on this screen. If you don’t see the image you wish to use in this list, just make a copy and move it to your Pictures profile and try again. Select the image and hit Open. You’ll then be asked if you really want to use that particular image or if you’d like to choose another. Confirm the selection to start setting up your gestures.
You’ll be asked to make three gestures in order to secure your system. The photo acts as a reminder and/or guide for these gestures, so feel free to click and drag lines, circles, and dots in an order and way you know you’ll remember later on. You can turn Picture Password off at any time through the PC Settings menu.
You’ll be asked to repeat your gestures in order to make sure they’re set the way you want them. Once this is done, your computer can be unlocked by swiping and tapping on this picture.