Microsoft introduced an option in the most recent Windows 10 Home Insider Build to sign-in to Windows with password-less accounts.
Today, we’re announcing support for setting up and signing in to Windows with a phone number account, without having to create, or deal with the hassle of a password!
Passwords are certainly one of the Achilles Heels of account security; a recent study of leaked passwords in 2018 showed that Internet users still use pretty much the same insecure passwords that they used five years ago.
Weak passwords are not only the user's fault; companies shy away from imposing too restrictive password setting rules.
Users who sign up for a Microsoft Account need to assign a password to it. While it is theoretically possible to create a local Windows account without a password and even configure Windows for automatic login, all Windows accounts that are Microsoft Accounts require a password as well; this may change with Windows 10 version 1903 as Microsoft introduced a new option to recent Insider Builds.
One option that Windows 10 users have in the future is to sign-in to Windows using different means. Authentication is still required considering that it identifies whether the user is authorized to sign-in.
Instead of using a password to set up an account on a Windows device, users may create an account using a mobile phone if they have linked it to a Microsoft Account.
Windows would send a SMS code to the linked device which the user would then use to sign-in and create the account. The user would then have to use another sign-in method to access the account going forward.
Microsoft notes that the user may use Facial, Fingerprint, or PIN identification to sign-in to the account.
The process may take away the need to set up an account password but it does not do away with the authentication process itself. Depending on the device, all that is available is PIN authentication.
Windows 10 users may assign a PIN to an account to sign-in to the account; a PIN may even be a requirement if you create a new account on a Windows 10 device.
Right now, it is necessary to create a password-less phone number account in a mobile application such as Word. Users just need to type the phone number and follow instructions to create such an account.
On Windows 10, users would have to add the account under Settings > Accounts > Family & other Users > Add someone else to this PC to add the "new" account to the device.
The phone number account should be selectable during sign-in or user switching at this point in time. The user would have to select "sign-in options" and there Sign-in on the PIN tile. This launches the Windows Hello setup to set up one of the required authentication options for the account.
Setup is not straightforward at this point in time; some might say it is complicated. A regular account is required at this point in time to set up Windows on a device. Consecutive accounts can be password-less provided that the user has a mobile device and linked it to a Microsoft Account.
The user would still have to remember a PIN and use it to sign in if Face or Fingerprint authentication is not available on the device.
It remains to be seen if the process is optimized in future builds.
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