How To Fix Windows Fingerprint Recognition Currently Unavailable
Are you faced with the confounding message “Windows fingerprint recognition currently unavailable”? Don’t let the digital hiccup turn your day sour. This guide will share some nifty steps to troubleshoot this problem and bring biometric access back to normal in no time.
Re-register Your Fingerprints
Let’s start with the most obvious solution, which sometimes does the trick just fine. All it takes is to:
- Navigate to Windows Hello in the Settings app.
- Remove your fingerprint settings.
- Re-register your fingerprints.
This easy step might just be the quick fix you need, but it’s time to dig deeper if the issue persists.
Investigating the Hardware
Sometimes, your system might need a little nudge to recognize a problem. Running the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter can be that nudge. It lets Windows hunt down common issues with the fingerprint scanner, display them on the screen, and give you options for the next steps.
Updating the Biometric Device Driver
The digital equivalent of making sure all the wires are plugged in correctly and updating the biometric device driver ensures that Windows and your fingerprint scanner are on the same page. This can be done through the Device Manager.
Reinstalling Fingerprint Driver
Outdated or faulty drivers could be the cause of your trouble. Try updating the fingerprint driver through the Device Manager first. If updating doesn’t help, you may need to uninstall and then reinstall the fingerprint driver to get rid of any corrupted files and let the driver get a fresh start.
Disabling Faulty USB Drivers
Faulty USB drivers might be the culprits causing issues with your fingerprint reader. If any USB controllers show a warning sign in the Device Manager, disable and re-enable them. This is akin to turning it off and on again, but for the USB drivers – they should be “unstuck” and reset to a working state.
Windows Biometric Service
The Windows Biometric Service silently starts up each time Windows boots to ensure that your biometric features work without a hitch. If this isn’t set to start automatically, you might see the dreaded “unavailable” message. So, go ahead and check if it’s configured to auto-start:
- Press the “Windows Key + R” shortcut.
- Type “
services.msc” and press “Enter” to open the Services (Run) window.
- Scroll down to find the “Windows Biometric Service” on the list of services.
- Right-click “Windows Biometric Service” and select “Properties.”
- In Properties, check Startup type. If it’s not “Automatic,” click on the dropdown menu and select it.
- Click “Apply” or “OK” to save the changes.
You can also access this window from the Task Manager.
While you’re in the Services window, making sure the Credential Manager service is set to Automatic could also help.
Resetting WinBio Database
Consider this a fresh start for all biometric entries on your device. You’ll need to stop the Windows Biometric Service, create a backup of biometric data files, delete the original files, and restart the service. After doing this, you’ll need to re-register the biometric. Here’s how:
- Press the “Windows Key + R” keys.
- Type “
services.msc” and hit “Enter.”
- Scroll down and right-click on Windows Biometric Service, then select “Stop.”
- Go to C:\Windows\System32\WinBioDatabase
- Before proceeding, create a backup of all files in this directory. You can do this by selecting all files (Ctrl + A), copying them (Ctrl + C), and pasting them into a new folder.
- After making a backup, delete all files in the WinBioDatabase directory.
- Go back to Services, right-click Windows Biometric Service, then select “Start.”
Once the service restarts, you’ll need to re-register your biometric data.
Clearing the NGC Folder
To clear the NGC folder, you’ll need to change the ownership of the NGC folder to Administrators, rename the original NGC folder, and create a new one. This might clear up any issues with fingerprint recognition.
Group Policy Check-Up
Double-check your Group Policy settings from time to time. Anytime you install new updates, it can affect Windows Hello and other Biometric-related policies. So it’s a good idea to review them regularly and adjust as needed.
Using the Run command:
- Press “Windows Key + R” to open the Run dialog box.
- Type “
gpedit.msc” into the box and press “Enter.”
The Local Group Policy Editor will open. Here you can find and review specific policies related to biometric settings and Windows Hello.
Through the Search bar:
- Click on the Search icon or box on the taskbar.
- Type “Edit Group Policy” in the box.
- Click “Edit Group Policy” to open the Local Group Policy Editor.
As in the previous method, you can then check up on and adjust the policies.
A Walk Through the Registry
Adding a new entry to your Registry named “AllowDomainPINLogon” and setting its value to 1 may reactivate the biometric login. Remember to create a restore point in System Restore or backup your Registry before changing it.
User Account Troubles
Sometimes, it’s not you—it’s your user account. If your current account is corrupted and causing issues with Windows features, creating a new user account can solve the problem.
Switching to a Local Account
The easiest path can be the best. Reverting to (or creating) a local account can often fix the problem. A local account will not have to sync with the Cloud and thus can be more reliable (and will always be there even if the internet goes down).
Turning Off Fast Startup
Sometimes, being hasty can backfire. The Fast Startup feature of Windows 10 may be the root of your current issue since your computer never gets fully shut down and therefore doesn’t start from a fresh boot. Switching off Fast Startup has been a go-to solution for some users in this situation.
If the issue popped up recently, performing a system restore could help. This option allows you to revert Windows to a previous state, like a digital time machine. It restores Windows settings and files to how they were when your checkpoint was created. You can choose how far back you want to go if you have multiple checkpoints.
Keeping Up With the Updates
Installing the latest Windows updates adds new features, can improve performance and security, and fix bugs, including ones related to peripheral devices. Updating Windows might get your fingerprint scanner back into working condition.
Dealing With Buggy Updates
Updates are generally good—they fix bugs, patch security holes, and sometimes bring new features. However, occasionally, an update might have the opposite effect. If the issue occurred after installing an update, you could try uninstalling the update to solve the problem.
If none of these methods work, consider starting fresh and resetting your Windows computer. But remember, this is the nuclear option, so ensure you’ve exhausted all other possibilities before hitting that reset button.
At Your Fingertips
So there you have it, an exhaustive list of ways to solve the “Windows fingerprint recognition currently unavailable” issue. It’s always frustrating when technology doesn’t cooperate, but with a bit of patience and tinkering, you can usually get things back on track. Remember to back up your data regularly and keep your drivers up-to-date to prevent hiccups.
Do you regularly use a fingerprint scanner on your Windows computer? What troubleshooting method have you tried? Let us know in the comments below.