Using biometrics (your fingerprint or your face) to log into your computer can be much more convenient and secure than using a password, especially when used as part of multi-factor authentication. You don’t have to change it frequently, and it’s much harder to steal (though it can be done).
But, when it’s not working, it can be a lot harder to reset. We recently learned this first hand when a customer was having issues with Windows Hello (the service in Windows that lets you log in with your face or fingerprint).
When the customer tried to log in to his computer using Windows Hello (he was using his face), it wouldn’t work, and he would be prompted for his PIN to be able to log in.
If he tried to set up his face ID again, he’d get an error message saying it had already been set up on another account (similar to the message on the right).
As you can see from the error message, it can also occur with a fingerprint scan.
Here’s how we solved it:
To fix this issue, you basically just need to the delete the existing files and re-register your face or fingerprint (it works the same for both). Please note, this will reset Windows Hello (face scan, fingerprint scan, and iris scan) for all users registered on the computer:
1. Stop the Windows Biometric Service from the Control Panel. Log into the computer using your PIN. Then, go to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items> Administrative Tools > Services. When you click Services, a new window will pop up. Find “Windows Biometric Service” and highlight it. In the left column, click “Stop the service.”
2. Create a backup. Create a new folder somewhere on your computer called WinBioBackup. Then, open Windows Explorer and go to C:\Windows\System32\WinBioDatabase. Back up the Dat files in this folder by copy and pasting the files into the new folder you created.
4. Start the service again. Go back to the Control Panel and follow the instructions from Step 1, but this time, click “Restart the Service.”
5. Register your face/fingerprint again. Go to your account settings, then Sign-in options and go through the registration process again to re-register your biometrics. If this machine has multiple users, everyone will need to re-register.