I’ve noticed a number of postings lately with people trying to enable their fingerprint readers. They can see the device in device manager, but there isn’t a biometric devices option listed in the control panel. If they go through help and support and search for biometric devices they have found that they can launch the applet manually, but they see “Windows did not find any biometric devices on this computer. You might need to attach your device or install device drivers.”
Well, obviously it is present and has drivers installed if it shows up in the device manager right? Right. But, there is a caveat. Not all fingerprint readers are classified as WBF (Windows Biometric Framework) compatible and thus, will not enable the CPL (control panel applet).
But there is usually a solution.
Generally all you have to do is make sure you got everything you needed. There is a lot of advice about finding alternate drivers or uninstalling/reinstalling the device in device manager… but generally speaking you’re missing something much simpler than that.
I have seen this on Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, etc etc etc. So the big guys have this issue too. Problem is if they are trying to keep costs down they might be integrating a non WBF compatible fingerprint reader into their laptop/tablet/netbook/whatever. If so (as long as you didn’t buy the device from Bob’s Auto Transmission and White-Box Laptop Sales) you probably missed something on the downloads page. The big guys usually have a framework of their own.
So for instance, if you GO HERE you’d notice that for the Validity Fingerprint Sensor you have a driver clearly listed with a pretty download button right next to it (just like if you were on Dell’s website for a similar laptop. But if all you run is the drive, you’ll miss the fine print on the driver page (which says, “NOTE: To use the fingerprint sensor, HP ProtectTools Security Manager must be installed.”)
If you miss that you’ll be pounding your head for hours, or just give up and forget about that super-cool fingerprint logon thingy you planned to impress your friends with. Well, the HP ProtectTools suite is on that same page (just like with IBM, Dell, etc) to get around this problem… but people miss it.
This brings up the subject, why don’t the manufacturers of these 3rd party devices just get their stuff certified? I don’t know the answer to that but it has been going on for a long time. Sometimes… the hardware manufacturers just don’t know, don’t care, or maybe… they don’t like Microsoft and refuse to submit their drivers. Most likely the reason is the manufacturer wants to have a single tool that will work with whatever version of Operating System the user has. Whatever the reason – go back to your downloads page on whatever support site your manufacturer has listed and look again. I bet you missed the “alternate” biometric interface suite.