As computers become more predominant and people get more into them, there are going to be more and more passwords. They always tell you to use more than just one password. Even for me with my excellent memory, I occasionally forget one and have to go through all the trouble of getting it reset.

Then comes along reasonable fingerprint readers. I own 2, the first from APC ($39), the second from Microsoft ($49).

First off, they were both easy to install, the software was fairly simple to figure out. There were wizards that assisted in helping you register your main “login” finger and so on.

To register a finger in the software wizard, you touch the reader anywhere from 4 times with the Microsoft to 7 times with the APC. I think the APC requires more touches because the reading surface area is substantially smaller than Microsoft’s. APC has just a small, what looks like .5 inch, square that reads your finger where as Microsoft has a nice large, laser illuminated oval which looks just a little over an inch in length.

The software for the APC seems a little more robust, but not as integrated into the OS as Microsoft’s (of course). The APC also had a cool file encryption scheme that uses your fingerprint as the key for the encryption. The only thing Microsoft’s software seems to do is allow you to only log into places.

When it comes to using the software to login through other programs, it they both work about the same except for Microsoft not wanting to bring up the wizard for Mozilla’s browser (of course), but worked fine under IE.

Overall, I personally like the Microsoft one much more and will probably buy 5-6 more to install one on each of my servers.