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Windows 8 to Employ Pictures Over Passwords

Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system will employ a new method of unlocking devices that uses pictures and illustrations instead of conventional passwords, according to program experts.

Zach Pace, a program manager of the company’s You Centered Experience Team, explained how this new method will display a picture on a Windows 8 device that the user will have to highlight and draw a specific pattern on in order to gain access to their device

Pace has outlined this new feature in the latest Building Windows 8 Blog.

This new feature also allows the user to pick out one of their own personal photos rather than one that is generic.

The user creates the pattern or highlight with either their finger or a mouse depending on what kind of device they are using. Windows will then interpret the gesture and allow the user access to their device if they have drawn correctly over the image.

While running field tests with Windows users, Microsoft discovered that users preferred one of three gestures including tapping on a section of the photo to indicate a location, connecting or highlighting different areas of the photo, or enclosing areas. Free form gestures proved to be slower and more difficult among them. Judging from those tests, Microsoft came up with tapping, drawing a line, and drawing a circle as the minimal or limited set of gestures required to log in.

“When you draw either a circle or a line on your selected picture, Windows remembers how you drew it,” said Pace. “So, someone trying to reproduce your picture password needs not only to know the parts of the image you highlighted and the order you did it in, but also the direction and start and end points of the circles and lines that you drew.”

Users will still be able to use traditional passwords as an additional or alternative method of logging in. Windows 8 is expected to launch sometime next year.

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