Microsoft Fingerprint Reader

Microsoft Fingerprint Reader

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Update on 3/26/3009: I recently received an official communication from our hardware group that is germane to this old blog post:

Thanks for your interest in Microsoft Hardware products.  The Fingerprint Reader is no longer being manufactured by Microsoft but we recognize it may still be available from retailers and resellers.  The product runs on 32-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista. Microsoft will not be releasing any updates for the product to run on 64-bit versions of Windows XP or Windows Vista. The product is not supported on Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit).  To ensure this is clear to our customers, the product will not install on Windows 7 (the user is warned that the application will not run). 

If you currently use the Fingerprint Reader and are unable to use your product with 64-bit versions of Windows XP or Windows Vista or the Windows 7 beta release, please visit the following Web site for assistance: http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/support/fingerprintreader.mspx.

For a couple years now, I've been happily using a DigitalPersona fingerprint reader. It was given to me at one of our internal events, and I had let it sit on my shelf collecting dust wondering why I'd ever need a biometric security device to logon to my machine. Then, one day, I ran across it while looking for something else, and I decided to plug it in and give it a try. Unfortunately, the personal edition of the DigitalPersona device wouldn't allow me to logon with my fingerprint unless I was using the Windows XP Welcome Screen option (and I prefer the Windows Classic Logon). So I was just about ready to disconnect it and put it back on the shelf to collect more dust when I read that I could use it to provide usernames and passwords for web sites I frequently visit. Interesting.

Basically, you visit a site that requires authentication, touch the reader with one of your registered fingers, then tell the fingerprint software what it should enter into selected fields on the web page. You can also indicate whether or not you'd like the "submit" button on the page to be pressed. That's it! Now, the next time you visit that web page, you just touch the fingerprint reader, and everything is done for you. It's really that simple, and it makes logging into secure sites a breeze. I suppose it could be used for any site that has fields you'd like to fill in, but I've used it exclusively for authentication.

I knew that we had recently come out with our own Fingerprint Reader, and I figured that I could use my new computer purchase as an excuse to try it out. So, even though the DigitalPersona reader had never given me a single problem (other than the Windows XP logon restriction), I purchased the newer, slimmer, and sleeker-looking Microsoft version. And guess what I quickly discovered? It's also made by DigitalPersona! I was very happy to learn this, although I wondered if our version would provide any benefits over the older reader.

The Microsoft Fingerprint Reader does allow you to logon to your machine, even if you're using the Windows Classic Logon screen like me. Plus, the interface that allows you to configure fields and buttons on a web page is improved and very straightforward. As you can see in the screenshot, the software highlights the field on the web page (in this case, a Hotmail password field) that corresponds to the field that you are registering. Then, you can tell it which button to use to submit your information. In my case, it automatically selected the "Sign In" button for me. After I press OK, I'll never have to type these credentials again...I can just use one of my registered fingers.

One word of caution. I've discovered that the reader will not work more than a couple times when plugged into a Belkin F5U237 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 7-Port Hub. If I plug it directly into my computer, everything works as advertised. The fingerprint reader appears to require 260mA of power from the USB port, and from what I've read, the USB specification states that devices may use up to 500mA before they need to provide their own external power source.

I'm not sure why it doesn't work reliably when connected to the Belkin hub, but I've tried a number of things to diagnose the problem: I've plugged the hub directly into the wall (instead of through a surge protector), I've tried all of the ports on the hub, I've tried another hub of the same make and model, I've upgraded all of my USB drivers, and I've spent about 30 minutes on the phone with Belkin technical support. Although the support person I spoke with was very helpful, we were unable to successfully resolve my problem. I'll probably try a different USB hub to see if the issue I'm having is limited to this specific make and model. Update: I installed an Adaptec USB card, and everything now works fine. It appears that the problem is with the USB chipset on my motherboard (VIA).

Regardless of this slight hiccup, I am very happy with the new reader. For around $41 (or $39.88 if you live near a Sam's Club), this is a nice piece of hardware that offers a lot of convenience. If you're looking for unique and useful gift ideas for the upcoming holidays, this is one I'd highly recommend.

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  • 1) Any one knows how secure that Fingerprint Manager program (whether its version 1 or 2) is in keeping the passwords safe? I mean, can someone get access to the passwords stored in it and use them directly without your fingerprint? (through copy/paste, for example?) Do you HAVE to swipe your fingerprint in order to open and manage the Fingerprint Manager software? Does it store anything in the registry that could be unsafe?

    2) Also, any one got this working on a Linux machine?

    3) Did microsoft make an upgraded product of this? Like version 2 or a newer version?

    4) Any one knows of other fingerprint readers similar to this one with same functionality?  

    Thanks for any feedback :)    

  • i installed my MFR months b4 then it works well. then right now i installed it again the reader didnt respond for scanning. it lights steady all the time. is MFR really dont run in XP with service pack? i also tried downgrade my laptop still didnt work

  • I have bought a microsoft fingerprint reader.

    please show me how to take my fingrprints on screen. I want to scan my fingrprints into a bitmap file. to do this, what software can i use.

    thanks.

  • Is there no way to log onto a vista pc thats connected to a domain ?

  • using password managers SUCKS! this hardware simply rocks!

  • I need to read the fingerprint off my ms reader and get the user details onto a VB program. Which dll or activex controls do i pick and how to pass parameters from the fingerprint device to my system.

    Thanks

  • hi there guys, i have bought Microsoft finger print reader it works ok on my laptop but on my desktop its installed fine but do not scan any finger print for registration. both machines got xp pro and for both of them its connected to local USB port. try to on all diff ports but no luck. any ideas ?

    Regards

  • Hi,

    I just bought the Microsoft Fingerprint Reader and after installing the software, i did the setup on the "Fingerprint Registration Wizard" that was no problem.

    But then when i tried setting a password to one of my email sites, by opening the login page & pressing my finger on the scanner nothing happens, & i don't get the fingerprint reader icon on my task bar.

    I can't find the One Touch Menu or the Fingerprint Logon Manager.

    Would appreciate if some could help me out of this problem.

    Thanks,

    Adi.

  • I've had this little guy for a few years. I LOVE it.  My only complaint is that it won't log me into the domain.  Ah well, it's not designed for that kind of use.  

    What's up with all the Firefox people whining?  Firefox is ok, but it's third party.  Don't expect a complany to support every third party piece of code out there, even if there are millions of downloads.  Good grief.  BTW, I've always used IE, learned to love it's strengths and curse some of it's weaknesses...but I'd never change.  AND, I've NEVER had any major problems...virus or otherwise.  

  • so i bought one of these about a year ago (or when vista came out), along with an upgrade to 32 bit vista. I like it alot, used it all the time. Even modded my desktop case to allow for easy access. not long ago, i discovered you could swap your 32 bit vista disk for a 64 bit one through some ms program, so i swapped it out (bad idea there is no upgrade path from 32 to 64 bit os's but any way, i happened to have a 64 bit version of xp floating around, installed it, upgraded it, only to find my microsoft finger print reader doesn't have any drivers for 64 bit operating systems. From my understanding, in twist of irony, the only 64 bit opperating system that microsofts finger print reader works on is linux... I'm still holding out hope that this will be fixed, but i checked again today, and found nothing - less really, than i had previously. Is there any hope? or do i have a 30$ dust magnet permanently glued into my desktop case?

  • Anyone know which XP security update in the last month or two conflicts with the MS fingerprint reader? The first problem that surfaced was the FPR no longer worked while plugged into a USB hub (powered). Then when plugged directly into a USB on the computer, the OS started freezing (KB and screen requiring power down) after a random length of time. It took some time to determine that the FPR was the problem.

  • PingBack from http://www.winvistaclub.com/forum/windows-vista-hardware-devices/26965-fingerprint-reader-driver-64-bit.html#post127931

  • Nowadays, if my computer is a member of a domain, it is possible to use DigitalPersona Password Manager to log on to your Windows XP user account? I need the Logging On with the Windows XP Logon Screen feature. Thanks.

  • Dear Mike,

    I use the latest version of DigitalPersona Personal on Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit. The sw allows for standard user accounts to have their own authentication. I'd like to know if I can bypass/login to a standard user's account if I am the administrator. Meaning, is there a way for the administrator account user to override the login for a standard user that is protected by the fingerprint program. I have searched for an answer but I cannot find it (DPP's site has no info and it's not in their product's help section). Do you know perhaps?

    Thanks

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