Biometric Devices Missing from Windows 7 Control Panel

11 Comments | This entry was posted on Jan 18 2010

AuthenTec, a company that makes fingerprint scanning devices, worked closely with Microsoft to enable fingerprint authentication without third-party software for Windows 7. Unfortunately, the settings to set up the fingerprint scanner do not always show up in the Windows 7 control panel. To set up the fingerprint scanner you usually can navigate to Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Biometric Devices. From there you can enter your password and register your fingerprints. What if biometric devices is missing from control panel?

To get the biometric devices to show up in Windows 7 control panel download the drivers from AuthenTec’s website (mirror here). I am not sure if this next step is necessary, but the directions I found said to extract the driver with uniextractor. I have extracted the driver for you and zipped it up here (x32, x64) so you don’t have to. Open the zip file and extract the files somewhere and run setup.exe. This installer will create a folder under C:\Program Files\ called WIN7TS and will install the drivers for your finger print scanner. It will also load the necessary components so you can use the fingerprint scanner from the control panel. Once the biometric devices option shows up you can set up everything from the control panel.

If you are getting the ‘Set-up Failure’ error, then try running C:\Program Files\WIN7TS\TrueSuiteApplication.exe directly. It is the same program that runs from the control panel but sometimes has less errors on setup.

Let me know in the comments if you have any problems or questions.

How-to Create a default user in Windows Vista/7

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Sep 26 2009

In Windows Vista and Windows 7 there are two ways you can create a modified default user profile. One is automatic and the other is manual. The automatic way is the recommended way according to Microsoft. However, you may run into some problems using this way so I will explain it the manual way too.

First up is the automatic way. For the automatic way you have to use the system preparation (sysprep) tool that Microsoft provides built into Windows Vista and 7. This tool is used for a variety of things but is mainly used for when you need to create a single computer image to put onto multiple machines. To see all the crazy things sysprep can do read the technical documentation on creating an unattend.xml file for sysprep to change everything from your sidebar widgets to your computer name.
Once you have your unattend.xml file created you just need to make sure you have the CopyProfile option turned on in the “specialize” pass and you should be all set.


A few things to note if you are going to do it this way.
1. The account you run the sysprep command from is going to be the account that is copied to the Default profile. So make sure the account you are running sysprep from has admin rights and is set up exactly as you want it.
2. The administrator account is removed during sysprep. Even if you have everything set up the way you want it to be admin will get the same settings as Default user unless you do some fancy scripting.
You can do some more reading on using this method with the following KB article.

Now for the manual method. This method is good if you don’t want to sysprep the computer because all you want to do is change some items for all the users that are going to be logging into a computer. I got all this information from this technet thread but I have used this mothod pretty extensively.
First thing you have to do is to create the profile just as you want it (same as the automatic steps). In this situation though you need to create a second user account because you are going to use the local administrator account to copy all of the settings from the second account to the default profile.
Once everything is set up just the way you want it, restart the computer and log into the local administrator.
After you log in follow the steps below.

1. Right click Computer and select Properties
2. Select Advanced System Properties (elevating as required)
3. In the system properties dialog click the Settings button under User Profiles
4. Select the account you want to use as a template
5. Click Copy To
6. Change the “permitted to use” option to “Everyone”
7. Use the Browse button to select the location of the default profile (C:\Users\Default) You will need hidden files shown to see this.
8. Click OK
9. Click Yes to overwrite the existing default profile

The steps above copy all the files and settings to the profile but there are still things in there that probably reference your old account you had created. To get rid of all those references to the other account you will need to edit the registry hive of the Default user. Follow the steps below to remove all traces of your template account from the default user.

1. Enable “Show hidden files and folders” in Folder Options
2. Disable “Hide Protected Operating System files” in Folder Options
3. Launch Regedit
4. Select HKEY_USERS and go to File -> load hive
5. Navigate to the profile directly of the user you want to load (e.g. C:\users\default for the default user)
6. Open the ntuser.dat file
7. Provide a name for the hive, this will be used as the root key name for that hive under HKU
8. Search the hive for any reference to your old user account.
9. When you find any keys that reference your old user account you can delete the keys (they will be re-created when someone new logs in).
10. Unload the hive before attempting to log in as the user

After you have finished you can log in with a new user to test that all the correct settings transferred to the default profile. If you are satisfied with everything go ahead and go back to System Properties -> Advanced System Properties -> User Profiles and delete the account you set up for the Default User template.

If you have any questions, comments, or problems feel free to leave a comment. I hope this helps.

How-to enable blank passwords in Windows

3 Comments | This entry was posted on May 14 2009

If you set up a user account in Windows and you want to allow the user account to have a blank password you may find it a little difficult. In order to accomplish this you probably need to change a couple settings in Windows.

The error message you probably got is:

The password does not meet the password policy requirements. Check the minimum password length, password complexity and password history requirements.

To allow a blank password go to Start -> Run and type in gpedit.msc then hit enter.
You should get a window that pops up and has a whole bunch of settings you may have never seen before. On the left side expand Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Account Policies and then click on Password Policy. On the right side you will need to change a few of the settings.
The three settings you will need to change are Maximum password age, Minimum password length, and Password must meet complexity requirements. Change maximum age and maximum length both to zero and disable the complexity requirements. Once you have these three settings changed you can just close out the window and now you should be able to set a blank password for your user account.
If you cannot change these settings you may be joined to a domain which has these settings locked down. I can’t help you there, but this should help in most other cases.
Let me know if this helps, or doesn’t help, in the comments.