Microsoft patents Windows 8 picture password feature

By Tom Warren, on 21st Sep 11 10:45 am with 40 Comments

Windows 8 Picture Password

Microsoft has submitted a patent claim for its Windows 8 picture password feature.

The picture password feature allows Windows 8 users to select their own personal picture and sketch three different patterns over the picture to login. The new authentication system makes it easier for tablet and touch users to login to a Windows 8 PC. Microsoft filed a patent for the feature in February, 2008. The patent was published on Tuesday and reveals that Microsoft has been working on the feature for several years.

“The technique may be implemented on a computing device, such as a PC or a portable electronic device, for authenticating user logon,” says the patent summary describing the feature. “Users can draw any sketch he or she desires as a password.” Microsoft introduced the feature as part of its Windows 8 Developer Preview, released last week. Microsoft notes that the feature is “particularly suited for protecting information on devices such as the PDA, Tablet PC, and game devices such Nintendo-DS, where the stylus is a major input means.”

Microsoft explains that the system does not authenticate users based on an exact match of their drawing. “It authenticates based on the future similarity between an edge orientation pattern extracted from the sketch the user enters and an edge orientation pattern extract from the user’s pre-registered template sketch,” explains the patent filing. The feature, demonstrated below, is particularly useful for touch-based devices but also works well on a standard keyboard and mouse setup in Windows 8.

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  • Jinge

    Android’s way of path-unlocking cannot be considered as a part of this? 

    • Anonymous

      No, patents are very specific, so the Android unlock would have to be on a picture for it to apply, rather than the grid of dots.

    • Matt Hardwick

      It’s a picture of a grid of dots. hurr hurr hurr.

    • Levi Freeman

      @twitter-17131292:disqus you may be onto a future lawsuit here. image could be considered as those grids…

    • Jinge

      No lawsuit possible from MS, because Android was 1st, and no lawsuit for Google because it is not the same thing… So what’s left? 

    • Sebastian Machat

       Did they have the patent for it befo February 08?

    • Anonymous

      And even from before then with the 2003/2004 Winmobile lock screen, which was two touch points (with word over/underlays) on a picture screen!

    • Guest

      Google have a patent? LOL. Why do you think they’re busy buying IBM’s?

    • Monkey D Black

      To make your password on android lock screen you have to have to string together a connected line through the dots. this is why is that suit won’t hold because with windows 8 you the user are free to draw whatever image you want. It doesn’t need to connect.

    • Jinge

      That was my point ^^

    • Guest

      Hmmm. I wonder if MS with all their legal muscle thought considered that before making the filing? Gosh, I think maybe they did.

  • Hassan Ali

    Well Windows 8 will surely rocks. Inshallah.

    • Levi Freeman

      im not arabic but i will say this, Inshallah the windows 8 tablets will beat android tablets.

    • Wazikhan

      Inshallah = “God willing” :)

      Window8 tablet will  beat android and Ipad also Inshallah :).  

    • Ahmed Hassan

      I agree with you brother. Google and Apple are full of Zionists. Inshallah they will lose this OS war.

    • mediator

      Please don’t involve politics in this. Leave your hate at the “about:blank”.

    • Guest

      You had to go there, right? Sad.

    • Ahmed Hassan

      The truth is not always what you want

      - Anonymous

    • Guest

      Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.

      - Charlotte Bronte

    • Richard

      There is no god – consumers will decide.

    • God

      You’re now on my shit list. Be so advised.

  • Jimmy Fallon

    Not quite as good as the magnetic power cord, but…

    • Jinge

      I do really like the concept of drawing/follow a mountain to unlock the device, but still wondering what is appening when you change the background (thing which had been showed during the presentation of W8, just after having unlocked the device!)
      2nd thing: they really need to create new screens which do no keep fingerprints on it! It is often quite easy to unlock an android phone just by looking at it.

    • Denis Jelec

      They already used magnetic power cord. Sidewinder X8  ;)

  • Anonymous

    I use it and it works well.  Two issues:
    1.  Draw a “V” and it is interpreted as a line between the starting point and the end-point.
    2. This obviously isn’t as secure as typing in a password.

    • Aurélien Ramondou

      I’m not sure.
      It seems simpler at first but nothing prevents you to have a complex gesture, the same way nothing prevents you to have a complex password.

    • Anonymous

      My point is somone can watch your gestures very easily. Passwords are difficult to watch on screen because they are obfuscated.

    • Anonymous

      So you’re worried someone in Starbucks is watching over your shoulder to see your picture password?

    • Anonymous

      My concern is more corporate related.  I’m the desktop arcitect for a Fortune 500 company and I’m always thinking about implmentation.  I’m sure there would be a GPO to manage this.

      On my tablet, I use the picture login.  People love it when I demo it!

    • BigChiefSmokem

      group policy to force complex alphanumeric pws along with securID token

      hired amirite?

    • Guest

      It’s a valid concern. Then again, in a corporate environment it’s not uncommon for people to have difficulty remembering alphanumeric passwords and resorting to writing them down somewhere in a non-secure fashion. A case could be made that with a picture and gestures of their choosing, maybe you could eliminate some of that.

    • Guest

      I imagine it’s expected to be used more on tablets, which often will be held close and pointed at your face. If someone still manages to see and remember your complex gesture, then either you lack the situational awareness to say “hey asshole, do you mind?”, or they’re really clever and you should probably just hand it over to them ;-) 

  • SDreamer

    This was something derived from the Origami project wasn’t it? I remember toying with it before on my first tablet PC.

    • Guest

      I forget. But if so, it’s good to see that they’ve gone back and reviewed some of the things they’ve done in the past. There’s a lot of goodness there over nearly a decade of tablets efforts.

    • Avatar X

      Good memory. I now remember it too. It was bothering me since i saw it demoed.

  • w1ngnut

    Good! That way no iDeveloper or gDeveloper will copy it! ahahah

    • Anonymous

      Patent doesn’t mean they can’t/won’t license it… If the feature proves good enough, you know they will.

    • CheckItOut

      An “iDeveloper” has already launched a competing technology… much more secure too, as it does not rely on an “edge orientation pattern match”. Instead of a password, it’s called a passtouch —>

  • Anonymous

    No way Apple would copy this right? LOL!

  • Guest

    I’ve wanted to poke Ballmer in the head a few times myself.