Replace passwords with fingerprint convenience.
The Microsoft Fingerprint Reader lets you log on to your PC, access favourite web sites, and easily switch users with the touch of a finger. Just place your finger on the receiver when a password or username is required.
Microsoft Fingerprint Reader should not be used for protecting sensitive data like financial information or for accessing corporate networks.
• Windows XP Pro / XP Home / Media Centre / Tablet PC.
• 128mb RAM
• Pentium 233MHz or higher CPU
• 45Mb of available HardDrive. (More, if System Restore is enabled)
• Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or greater.
• MSN Explorer 8.0 amd 9.0
• Available USB Port
• CD/DVD Reader
PLEASE NOTE: This unit is designed for home/consumer use, and should not be used as a commercial security or access-restriction feature.
I got mine bundled free in with some Norton's products, so I thought it was great value for money. Because of a problem with my memory, I used to forget passwords on many of my favourite websites and now I dont have any problems logging in. Not likely I will forget my fingers, and since I registered all of them even a dire accident probably wont stop me from having net access. Only slight downside was that I had to upgrade my pc from Windows ME to Windows XP to use this but I figured I would have had to make the move eventually so it wasnt a big issue. A very cool toy that for people like me who have trouble remembering passwords it becomes more of a tool than a toy. There are a number of types of fingerprint reader out there each having their own pros and cons but if you are looking for somethingf simple and easy to install and use then this should be your first choice.
OK, one gripe... so I'll get it out of the way so I can move on to the fun stuff... this device can cause a HUGE added lag during boot-up. It is possible that you will be staring at a blank loging screen for, up to, minutes... while the system loads the drivers and activates the scanner unit. No keyboard login is presented until the scanner is ready to accept fingerprint input... -grr-
Now, on to the fun stuff... easy to install and set up, this unit is a cool toy, and a functional tool at the same time. On the 'cool toy' side, it looks so dinky, mounted flush with the desk's surface. Erm, yes, this is a case of rebating a form-fitting cavity into the surface of the desk and drilling a conduit for the plug and cable to pass through to the PC's home behind the faux-drawers facia. The unit itself is only around 17mm deep, so it's easy to mount in thicker-toppped desks, but just forget it if you are using a customwood (aka compressed sawdust) topped desk, such as bought through wholesale outlets.
Anyways... ease of use was high, with registration of extra fingerprints as easy as clicking an icon in your system tray, clicking the image of the finger you wish to scan, and pressing the scanner 4 times with that finger. Under a minute from start to stop. Easy to use when prints are on file is also high, as any registered forms are automatically filled in and activated with a press on the red pad, and any as-yet unrecognised forms will generate the 'register' subsystem when it detects a value print on the scanner. Little amusing anecdote... MSN Messenger won't work with this unit... it seems to reject automated attempts at filling in login fields... it's keyboard or nothing apparently. I had to have a chuckle.
The scanning and recognition systems seem to be up to par in comparison to other home-user-level biometric scanners I have seen, with a very high degree of accuracy and recognition under most cicumstances. You must, however, make sure the scanning pad is kept clean and free of excessive dust... this is not helped by it's surface being sightly tacky... but not in a aprticularly adhesive way... it's very hard to describe. However, I found that a light spray of glass cleaner on a soft microfibre cloth does a brilliant job. If you let the grit build up, it fails to recognise valid prints.
With the aid of a talented programmer, this unit could quite possibly be adapted to more stringent security applications, but it would take more effort than is warranted, with dedicated-designed hardware and software packages already easily available for 'stronger' purposes... however this unit is well suited for it's target application of use in a home or small business environment. If logon's are registered directly after a clean install of the operating system, keylogger trojans will never get your passwords... your security will remain intact.
Overall... this is a handy little unit, and though it is, by design, a small-scale application of the technology, it could be a saving grace for the right users. I have found it really handy to have, as a log on to any site is as easy as slapping down a registered finger, and sitting back while it does all the hard work for me. Visitors using my machine can still trigger their own dial-ins of course, since the keyboard isn't locked out, just augmented by the scanner. Not 100% certain where these units are available, so keep an eye out for them if you are in the market for something like this.
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