Creating a PIN for Sign-in

Written by Eric Wyatt (last updated May 3, 2021)

Having a secure computer is an essential goal for anyone using a computer. Computers today can store a bevy of information that, if someone gained access to, could cause trouble for the owner of the information. For years you have probably been logging into your computer with a password. Windows 10 allows you to now log into your computer using a PIN if you are using a Microsoft account to log into your computer.

You might assume that PIN is an acronym for Personal Identification Number. That, in fact, is what comes to mind when I hear the term—sort of like a PIN you use at an ATM to verify your identity. Microsoft, however, doesn't limit a PIN to just numbers. It can include letters and symbols, if desired, and it can be anywhere from 4 to 127 characters in length. In some ways it is similar to a secondary password for your system.

A PIN is more secure because when you log on with a password, that password is transmitted to a server to verify your identity. During the verification process, the password being transmitted can be intercepted or stolen. A PIN, however, is only used on the device; it is never transmitted and therefore cannot be intercepted.

Setting up a Pin for your account is a simple process:

  1. Click on the Start button in the bottom left corner. This will open the Start screen.
  2. Click on the Settings button (it looks like a small gear). Windows displays the Settings dialog box.
  3. Click on the Accounts option, which modifies what you see in the Settings dialog box.
  4. Click on Sign-in Options. Windows again changes the options available in the dialog box.
  5. Under the PIN heading click the Add button. You are then asked for your password.
  6. Enter your Account password. Windows displays the Windows Security dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  7. Figure 1. The Windows Security dialog box.

  8. Enter your desired PIN in both text boxes.
  9. If you desire you can opt to include letters and symbols in your PIN by clicking the Include Letters and Symbols check box.
  10. Click OK.

Setting a PIN should offer you more peace of mind that access to your device is more secure. You'll need the PIN the next time you log into your system.

 This tip (6066) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...


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