How to Fix: Your Device is Having Trouble Recognizing You (Windows 10 Fingerprint)

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Infopackets Reader Dave T. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I recently upgraded my motherboard and CPU, which meant having to reinstall Windows 10 from scratch. I have a USB fingerprint reader that I've been using for years prior to the hardware upgrade, and it worked flawlessly. However, since I have had to reinstall Windows, the fingerprint reader keeps saying 'your device is having trouble recognizing you' whenever I try to sign in to Windows 10. If I keep swiping, I keep getting the same error message and eventually I have to enter my PIN in order to login. How can I make my fingerprint recognize me like it did before I had to reinstall Windows 10? I also use Roboform and am having issues logging into that as well. "

My response:

I also own a USB fingerprint reader (the "Eikon solo"), though it is no longer sold. That said, I have found a great trick in getting the fingerprint reader to "recognize me" more accurately so that it doesn't keep reporting "your device is having trouble recognizing you".

How to Fix: Your Device is Having Trouble Recognizing You (Windows 10 Fingerprint)

First and foremost, "Windows Hello" is responsible for recording and recognizing fingerprints in Windows 10. It also allows you to register more than one fingerprint; this is a nice feature especially if you are having trouble logging in with one particular finger. Roboform also uses the Windows Hello data, so if you're having trouble logging into Windows, you will also have issues logging into Roboform.

Since most people are accustomed to using the same finger (most of the time) to swipe, one trick to get Windows Hello to remember you "better" is to have it "learn another fingerprint", but instead use same finger to create a "new fingerprint profile". That way, Windows Hello will have more data to learn the same fingerprint, thus lessening the chance of receiving the "your device is having trouble recognizing you" error.

For example: a long swipe of the index finger with a lot of pressure on the fingerprint reader will register differently than a light, quick swipe. Also, a swipe that is off-center will also register differently - though technically all these swipes are from the same finger.

To register the same finger multiple times in Windows Hello, do the following:

  1. First ensure that the fingerprint reader isn't dirty because that can cause a lot of issues. Begin by inspecting the sensors very carefully. If it is dirty, use a very lightly damp cloth (or cotton swap and rubbing alcohol) to clean the sensors. Be very careful not to overdo it with liquid as you don't want to damage the sensors.
     
  2. Next, launch Windows Hello in Windows 10. To do so: click Start, then click "PC Settings" (the cog wheel), then click "Accounts". On the left side of the screen, click "Sign-in options". On the proceeding screen, look for the heading "Windows Hello"; under that, look for "Fingerprint" and click "Add another".
     
  3. Re-register the same finger you normally use (example: right index finger). If Windows Hello reports "that fingerprint is already registered" and to "try another", keep using the same finger - but this time, slide the finger slightly different over the sensor (example: tilt and slide your finger slight off center). Once Windows Hello accepts the first swipe, keep swiping your finger however you normally swipe (being as care-free as you like), and Windows Hello will add the extra data to the "new" fingerprint profile.
     
  4. Repeat Step #3 four or five times until you have enough extra "profiles" of the same finger.
     
  5. Log off Windows 10 (click Start -> User Profile -> Log off) and then try signing in again with your fingerprint. You can be as care-free as you want when swiping and it should still read the fingerprint as being valid.

I hope that helps!

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more questions. If you have a computer question - or even a computer problem that needs fixing - please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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