Windows 8 to Revolutionize Password Management

Dennis Faas's picture

Picking a password that is both memorable and resistant to cracking is a difficult task. It seems easy to forget a random series of letters and numbers, and it's just as easy to guess (or 'crack') memorable passwords, such as your birthplace, your dog's name, or your favorite ball club.

So it's helpful that Microsoft is expanding password management in Windows 8 by introducing "picture-based account unlocking," which allows PC users to draw circles, lines, and dots in place of text passwords.

Drawing Passwords Hard to Guess

Microsoft suggests that accessing an account via a graphical password will be easier and quicker than typing one in, while also increasing account security against hacker attacks.

The new password system (if you choose it in place of the traditional password type, which is still available) works by uploading a picture to Windows 8, which divides it into grid-like sections. The picture password system then requests the user to make a circle gesture, a line gesture and a tap gesture on this picture-based grid.

For example, using a photo of your family, you might circle Dad's head, draw a line from one sibling to another, and then tap Mom's left eyeball. (Source:

Password Drawing Limited to Touchscreens

It sounds simple, but experts say the technology offers surprisingly robust security.

The lines, circles and taps must be accurately located in order to gain access to a Windows 8 system account. You can also increase the security level by drawing the gestures in unexpected places: rather than circling Dad's head, for example, you can draw that circle somewhere in the picture where few would expect it.

The graphical password system, however, will be functional only for devices using a touch-screen. It may be most attractive to owners of tablets and other portable devices, which can be easily left behind on a bus seat or park bench.

Text Password System Also Improved

Windows 8's password overhaul includes more than just drawing lines and circles.

Text password management also gets an upgrade, as the operating system itself stores web account names and their passwords. In addition, users can employ a Windows Live ID to sign into a wide range of trusted computer systems and sync their account details across all of them. (Source:

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