Troubleshoot problems with Windows Hello on Surface

Applies to: Surface Devices

Having trouble signing in to Surface with Windows Hello? Try these solutions to fix the problem.

Windows Hello is a more personal way to sign in with just a look or a touch. If you have a front-facing infrared (IR) camera on your Surface, it recognizes your face and iris, allowing you to sign in to Windows 10 without having to touch the screen or keyboard. Or, if you have a Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID or Surface Pro Type Cover with Fingerprint ID (sold separately), you can use the fingerprint reader to sign in.

Before you begin

Check for Updates and Restart your Surface

There may be hardware driver updates that are available or pending a restart. Completing this process might fix issues you're having with Windows Hello. To check for updates now, select the Start button, and then go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Check for updates. Install any updates that you need. After you have installed the necessary updates,  select the Start button, and then select Power > Restart (or Update and restart).

Now, try signing in using Windows Hello again. When your Surface recognizes your face or fingerprint, it will sign you in to Windows automatically.

Windows Hello doesn’t recognize my face or fingerprint or there is an error message

If your face or fingerprint didn’t scan properly, or if you’re using the wrong finger to sign in, you’ll see an error message when you try to sign in using Windows Hello. If that happens, sign in with a PIN or password instead, and then set up Windows Hello again.

If you receive one of the following error messages when trying to sign in to Windows Hello, use the troubleshooting steps to try and resolve the issue:

  • Couldn’t recognize you. Please sign in with your PIN.

    This error message can occur if you wear glasses and did not set up the face recognition for whether you are wearing them or not. This could also occur if the device has moved and the lighting conditions are dramatically different in the new location.

    To improve recognition, select the Start button, and then go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options, and then select Improve recognition.

If the fingerprint reader on your Surface Pro Type Cover isn’t working, detach and reattach it from your Surface Pro, and then try using it again.

If you are unable to sign in with your PIN as well, you may need to reset it. To do this, sign in with your Password. and then select the Start button, go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options and select I forgot my PIN.

Restore or reset your PC. If Windows Hello was working before, a recently installed app, driver, or update might be causing the problem. To resolve this, try a Fresh Start. To learn more, see Restore or reset Surface.