Scott Hanselman

Microsoft Fingerprint Reader and Password Minder

March 19, 2006 Comment on this post [6] Posted in ASP.NET | XML | Tools
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FingerPrintPasswordMinderI love my Microsoft Fingerprint Reader, and I use it all the time at home. I also love Keith Brown's Password Minder, it's where I keep all my secret stuff. I also keep the pa ssword file synchronized using FolderShare.

While the software that comes with the Fingerprint Reader will also store passwords, marrying them with your fingerprint, I like the idea of keeping my passwords in the pwd.xml file - it's more mobile and sync's nicely. I use the fingerprint login for a number of sites, but I keep my financial passwords super complex and in the Password Minder.

I never realized - doh! - that the Fingerprint Reader not only managed passwords for Web Sites, but Windows Programs as well.

This makes it twice as useful as I thought it was, and that was pretty useful.

Of course, the next obvious thing was to combine the two, hence the image at right. They work great together. Might seem stupid to use one password secret store to open another, but I thought it was cool. Now maybe I'll put them all on a TrueCrypt drive...mwahahahaha

Now playing: Audrey Niffenegger - The Time Traveler's Wife, Part 1

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hosted in an Azure App Service
March 18, 2006 11:30
If only Microsoft provided an SDK for this great little device so I could utilise it in my own .NET apps.
March 18, 2006 12:19
Jason - what would you do with it? Look at
March 18, 2006 18:02

You might want to check out axcrypt ( It encrypts anything and uses shell extensions to make use convenient. I keep a text file with all my secrets (numbered swiss bank accounts, nsa bios, etc.). When I open the text file with notepad, it prompts for the key. I make my edits and exit. On exit, it quietly reencrypts.
March 18, 2006 20:43
I'm still waiting for the news story.

"The prisoner escaped after cutting off a guards right and and walking through the 27 palm locked doors to the front gate"
March 19, 2006 6:30
What's your opinion of roboform ( and the usb solution Pass2go (
March 22, 2006 17:05
I like the idea of having a key that is not physical (or biometric for that matter). I think I'm more comfortable with having a key that I can share with my wife in case anything happens to me that prevents me from providing the key (or worse).
Recently I was reading some articles complaining that this MS device is not very secure because you have to rest your finger on the sensor, eventually leaving traces of your fingerprint, as opposed to other sensors that you have to drag your finger over it, smudging any trace. Another article complained that the fingerprint info travels unencrypted from the device to the computer (as if keyboards were much different and more secure than that). It seems MS does not recommend this device for anything really serious, mostly for convenience.
Now, PWM + TrueCrypt, that one great duo that I'm getting more and more addicted to every day. All I needed to do was to come up with a single easy-to-remember-hard-to-break password and share it with my wife. And if you're asking how come I trust my wife that much...well, let's just say TrueCrypt's hidden volumes, takes care of that question (and keeps the wife innocently happy, LOL).

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.