Let Me In!

Modern versions of Windows, especially Windows 10, really want you to use a password.

Each week, as I set up or repair computers, I encounter people who believe the password requirement exists only to annoy them.

It does not. It exists to protect your information from people who can damage or erase it (deliberately or by accident), or steal it.

Sign In to Windows 10 the easy way

The easiest way to sign into Windows when you start up your computer is to not have a password.

Is that a good idea? No. Are people going to do that anyway? Yes. Maybe nothing bad will happen. Good luck with that.

The next easiest way is to have a password, but set Windows not to require you to use it when you sign in. This is a bad idea for the reasons above. It’s a bad idea, too, because even though you have a password, you’ll probably forget it.

Eventually, you’ll need it, and you won’t know it. Are people going to do this anyway? You bet. If you insist, here are the instructions.

Please write down your password somewhere you can find it when you need it.

Sign in to Windows 10 the easy and secure way

You still don’t want to take an extra six to 11 seconds to type a password and protect your stuff? No problem. You can set up Windows to accept a PIN, just like your banking card.

Here’s how:

  • Click on Start | Settings | Accounts |Sign-in options
  • In the PIN section, click on Add
  • Enter your password at the prompt, then type your new PIN twice
  • Click OK

You’re all set. Next time you start Windows, you’ll see a prompt for your PIN instead of your password.

You can toggle back and forth between signing in with a PIN and a password. Windows should remember how you signed in last time and prompt for the same thing next time.

You can also sign in with a picture, or use Windows Hello if your device has the right equipment.

Switch users

If you have more than one user account on your computer, it’s easy to switch between them. You don’t even have to close your programs and sign out. (You should always save your work, however, just in case.)

To switch accounts, click on Start, then click on the current user icon in the top left portion of the menu.

You’ll see a list of other accounts on your computer. Click on the one you want to switch to.

That’s going to take you to the login screen where you’ll be prompted for the password/PIN/picture/Hello credentials of the account you’re switching to.

Windows will sign in to the account, and the original account will still run in the background. You can easily move back and forth between accounts.

Sometimes there are problems with Fast User Switching.

If one user has a lot going on or if the computer is underpowered or RAM-deprived, it can be asking too much for a machine to run two or more accounts at the same time.

Did you notice where I said you should always save your work? The other thing that sometimes happens is one user decides to turn off or restart the computer.

This will kill any running accounts without saving anyone’s work. This has happened to me. Oops. Save your work often!

Do you have a password for your computer? How do you sign in? If you’re using Windows Hello, I’d love to know how it’s working for you. Email [email protected] with your thoughts.

Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along.


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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