Microsoft's war against passwords has taken a new turn in Windows 10 preview build 17093.
Most of the Redmond, Wash. software giant's employees is already using Windows Hello, the company's suite of biometric and secure authentication technologies, to log into their PCs at work. Now, the company is enlisting Windows 10 S users to the cause.
Aimed at students, Windows 10 S is a streamlined version of the operating system that is restricted to running apps from the Microsoft Store. It's a move that improves security and makes devices easier to manage in school settings, asserted the company in the operating system's May 2017 debut.
In preview release 17093, available to folks enrolled in the Windows Insider early-access and feedback program, Microsoft is making it possible for users to go password-free for themselves.
"Just download the Authenticator App and use it to set up your Windows 10 S PC," instructed Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider Program, and Brandon LeBlanc, senior program manager at Microsoft, in Feb. 7 blog post. The Microsoft Authenticator app, available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, provides multifactor and biometric authentication services that help secure Microsoft accounts.
"You will be able to go through the out-of-box experience, set up Windows Hello and access all your favorite apps and services – all without ever having to enter your password," continued the Microsoft executives. "Starting with this build, your Windows 10 S PC will automatically make your experience password-free." Once configured, password fields disappear from the Windows experience, including the lock screen, they added.
Continuing a push to add transparency to Microsoft's data collection methods, the test build contains a new setting that allows users to delete the diagnostic data the company has gathered about their devices. But early users will have to wait until it purges their data from Microsoft's servers as it completes work on the cloud-based backend system to support the new setting. The company is gearing up to fulfill delete requests by the time the next major feature update for Windows 10, codenamed Redstone 4, is released, said Sarkar and LeBlanc.
Windows Defender now shows up as a redesigned Windows Security screen within Settings. New account protection and device security categories provide one-stop destinations for users seeking out related controls and status indicators.
Microsoft's accessibility-enhancing Eye Control technology, which allows people with disabilities to interact with Windows 10 using specialized eye-tracking cameras, has received a number of tweaks to make it easier for users to scroll and access common tasks. Also new is a pause button in the Eye Control launchpad that helps prevent accidental clicks while reading or viewing streaming content.
For enthusiasts with beefier rigs, Windows 10 now features built-in multi-GPU settings that were traditionally furnished by utilities from Nvidia and AMD. Adding an additional GPUs (graphics processing unit) to a PC is a popular way of improving performance on graphics-intensive applications and games.