- Hardware issues such as scratches on the sensor, or grease or dust on the scanner
- Corrupted device drivers
- Chipset firmware, if you recently reinstalled Windows from Microsoft be sure to update your chipset firmware for your computer.
- Incorrect settings Windows Hello may not be configured in the right way.
- Corrupted system files might prevent you from using the fingerprint reader.
- Conflicts with the fingerprint reader software or other software cause the Windows fingerprint to not working issue.
Verify that your computer includes a fingerprint reader. See the documentation of your Dell computer to identify the location of the fingerprint reader.
NOTE: The location of the fingerprint reader might vary from the examples.
The fingerprint reader might be located on the palm rest, on the keyboard, on the power button, and so on.
A fingerprint reader on the power button of the Vostro 5502
Fingerprint reader on the back panel of Latitude 12 7202
Fingerprint reader on the power button of Latitude 5410
Fingerprint reader on the palm rest of Latitude E5470
Fingerprint reader on the Dell MS819 mouse
A simple reboot can resolve many issues almost immediately. Restarting the computer clears the memory (RAM) and ensures that any errant processes and services that start are shut down.
Restarting the computer closes all the applications and software running on the computer. This includes applications running on the taskbar and services that are running in the background.
WARNING: Before restarting the computer, ensure to bookmark open web pages, save any open documents, spreadsheets, or other unsaved work.
If the fingerprint reader issue persists, go to the next step and perform a hard reset.
To perform a hard reset, follow these steps:
- Turn off the computer. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds.
- Disconnect the AC adapter or power cable from the computer and remove the battery (for Dell laptops with removable battery).
- Disconnect all nonessential devices such as USB drives, printers, webcams, and media cards (SD/xD), except for the keyboard and mouse.
- Press and hold the power button for 15 to 20 seconds to drain residual power.
- Connect the power cable (for Dell desktops), AC adapter, and the battery (for Dell laptops).
- Turn on the computer.
- Try to sign into Windows using the fingerprint reader. If the fingerprint reader issue is not resolved, go to the next step and update the BIOS and device drivers.
Dell Technologies recommends updating the device drivers and BIOS as part of your scheduled update cycle. Device drivers and BIOS updates may contain feature enhancements or changes that help keep your system software current and compatible with other computer modules (hardware and software) and can increase stability.
- Download, and install the latest BIOS or UEFI update. See our guide to Dell BIOS Updates.
- Download, and install the latest device drivers. Learn How to Download and Install Dell Drivers. If the fingerprint reader is on non-Dell devices such as mouse, keyboard, or fingerprint scanner, go to the device manufacturers website to get the latest drivers.
- After installing the latest drivers, restart the computer and try to sign into Windows using the fingerprint reader.
If the fingerprint reader issue is not resolved, go to the next step and run the Windows Hardware and Devices troubleshooter.
Windows 11 and Windows 10 include some troubleshooters that can help you resolve various computer issues. You can run the
Hardware and Devices troubleshooter to allow Windows to scan and resolve any common issues with your computer’s fingerprint reader.
To run the hardware and devices troubleshooter in Windows:
- Press the Windows logo + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic and press the Enter key.
- In the Hardware and Devices window, click Next.
- Wait for Windows to diagnose any issues with your computer. If any issues are detected, follow the on-screen instructions to apply the recommended fixes.
- Restart the computer and try to sign into Windows using the fingerprint reader.
If the fingerprint reader issue is not resolved, go to the next step and run a hardware diagnostic test on the fingerprint reader.
To determine if the fingerprint reader is experiencing a hardware problem, run a hardware diagnostic test.
- Go to https://www.dell.com/support/home/home/index/fingerprintreader
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the hardware test.
NOTE: If SupportAssist is not installed on your computer, follow the prompts to download and install SupportAssist.
- If the hardware test passes, restart the computer and try to sign into Windows using the fingerprint reader.
- If the hardware test fails, contact Dell Technical Support for repair options that are available in your region.
If the hardware test passes, but the fingerprint reader issue is not resolved, go to the next step and install the latest Windows Updates.
Windows updates can support your Windows operating system in many ways. Windows updates can solve specific problems, provide protection from malicious attacks, or even add new features to the operating system.
To download and install the latest Windows Updates in Windows 11, Windows 10, or Windows 8 (8.1), follow these steps:
- In Windows, search for and open Check for updates.
- Under Windows Update, click Check for updates or Download now.
- After downloading and installing the updates, restart the computer.
- Try to sign into Windows using the fingerprint reader.
If the fingerprint reader issue is not resolved, go to next step and perform a system restore in Windows.
System Restore is an integrated Windows tool that is designed to protect and repair the operating system. When something goes wrong with your computer, System Restore should be used before restoring the computer to factory default settings.
Learn How to Use System Restore in Microsoft Windows.
After performing a system restore, restart the computer and try to sign into Windows using the fingerprint reader.
If the fingerprint reader issue is not resolved, go to the next step and try to create a new user account in Windows.
An issue with your current user account can also cause certain Windows features to stop working. This usually happens when your user account files get corrupted. If you suspect that to be the case, you can create and switch to a new user account to fix the issue.
To create a new user account:
- In Windows, search for and open Other Users.
- Under Other Users, click Add account.
- In the Microsoft account window, click on I don't have this person's sign-in information and follow the on-screen instructions to create a new user account.
- Set up Windows Hello fingerprint log in for the new user account and check if you can sign in with your fingerprint.
- If the fingerprint sign-in works, continue to use the new user account and copy your personal files to the new user account.
If the fingerprint issue is not resolved, go to the next step, and factory reset or reinstall Windows.
If the above troubleshooting steps did not resolve the issue, you can try to restore the computer to factory default settings as a last resort.
Dell computers are built with a small amount of hard disk space that is reserved for reinstalling the operating system. This method is the easiest way to restore the computer to factory condition. The restoration process deletes all user data from the computer, so be sure to back up all your files before beginning this process.
WARNING: Reinstalling the operating system results in the permanent loss of all data on the computer. Dell Technologies recommends that you back up all personal data to an external storage device, including but not limited to images, documents, email messages, contacts, browser bookmarks (favorites), music, videos, and so on.
Learn how to Factory Reset, Restore, or Reinstall Microsoft Windows on a Dell computer.
Other fingerprint reader issues
Unable to log in using the fingerprint reader (Windows Hello)
If you cannot log in using the fingerprint reader with Windows Hello, try the following steps to reset the Windows Hello settings.
- In Windows, search for and open Sign-in Options.
- Under Windows Hello Fingerprint, click Set up.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to set up the fingerprint reader.
- Press the Windows logo + L key to lock Windows and confirm that the fingerprint reader sign-in option is displayed on the Windows Lock screen, then log in to Windows.
- If the fingerprint sign-in option was not available, run Windows Update. In Windows, search for and open Check for updates. Windows automatically downloads and installs available updates.
- Repeat steps 1 through 4 to set up the fingerprint reader again.
Cannot set up the fingerprint reader
If you are unable to set up the fingerprint reader, try the following steps.
- In Windows, search for and open Sign-in options
- If the Setup button is available under Windows Hello Fingerprint, click Set up, and then follow the on-screen instructions. If the Setup button is not available, go to the next step.
- In Windows, search for and open Device Manager
- Click the arrow next to Biometric devices to expand the category. Verify that the fingerprint reader is available.
- If the fingerprint reader is not available, click the arrow next to Unknown devices to see if the fingerprint reader is listed in that category. If the fingerprint reader is not listed in Device Manager, try the fingerprint reader troubleshooting steps listed above.
The following articles provide general guidelines for troubleshooting and resolving fingerprint reader issues:
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The following articles provide direction for troubleshooting issues with Dell Encryption:
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The following articles provide direction for troubleshooting and resolving specific issues with security software:
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Get general information and guidance to secure your system/data on our Security and anti-virus page.
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