Microsoft Patents the Windows 8 Picture Password

The Redmond-based technology company has filed a patent for the new authentication method

Besides the typical password protection, Microsoft’s new Windows 8 also comes with a different authentication method called “Picture Password” that allows users to simply log in by drawing a set of predefined gestures on a displayed photo.

While this feature is pretty helpful for those owning a Windows RT tablet, including Microsoft’s first Surface, Microsoft wants to make sure that no one would ever release a similar technology without paying for it.

The Redmond-based technology company has filed for a patent for the Picture Password feature, briefly described in the abstract section of the patent as “picture gesture authentication.”

“In one embodiment, a picture signature password system may use a picture signature password to determine access to a computing device or service. A display screen 172 may display a personalized digital image 310,” the patent reads.

“A user input device 160 may receive a user drawing set executed by a user over the personalized digital image 310. A processor 120 may authenticate access to the user session if the user drawing set matches a library drawing set associated with the user.”

Picture password is also one of the heavily-advertised features bundled into Windows 8, as Microsoft has used it to promote the new operating system after its October 26 public debut.

This option, however, is mostly used by Windows RT tablet owners, as the touch capabilities of the new operating system make it much more appropriate for such a portable device.

“At its core, your picture password is comprised of two complimentary parts. There is a picture from your picture collection and a set of gestures that you draw upon it. Instead of having you pick from a canned set of Microsoft images, you provide the picture, because it increases both the security and the memorability of the password,” Microsoft says in the official description of the feature.

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