Windows Biometric Framework

Before Windows 7, fingerprint biometric device manufacturers had to provide their own technology stack, including drivers, software development kits (SDKs), and applications. Unfortunately, because different manufacturers created their own solutions, they lacked a consistent user interface and management platform.

The Windows Biometric Framework (WBF) enables biometric manufacturers to better integrate fingerprint scanners, iris scanners, and other biometric devices into Windows. Now, biometric devices can use the same Control Panel tools for configuration, regardless of the hardware vendor. Users can search for biometric capabilities by clicking Start and then typing biometrics, fingerprint or other related phrases to start the Biometric Devices Control Panel. IT professionals benefit because they no longer need to manage different software for each type of biometric device. Additionally, fingerprint scanners can now be used to respond to UAC credential prompts and to log on to AD DS domains.

Applications can use an API built into Windows 7 to interface with any type of biometric device. In the past, applications needed to use device-specific APIs, making it difficult for developers to integrate different types of biometric devices. Therefore, application developers also benefit because they can use a well-defined API and support biometric devices from any vendor.

Administrators can use Group Policy settings to prevent biometric devices from being used to log on to the local computer or domain, or they can completely disable biometrics. In Windows 7, fingerprint scanners are the only supported biometric device type.

Source of Information : Windows 7 Resource Kit 2009 Microsoft Press

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