The launch of Windows 7 in October 2009 saw Microsoft presenting a new solution that it believes will address these issues and take biometric identification and security to the next level: the Windows Biometric Framework (WBF). The WBF is designed to expose fingerprint readers and other biometric devices to higher-level applications in a uniform way, and offers a consistent user experience for discovering and launching fingerprint applications.
“The proliferation and increased popularity of fingerprint readers presented a great opportunity for Microsoft to invest in improving the user experience and the reliability of these devices,” says David Bossio, Lead Program Manager for Windows Security and Identity at Microsoft. “We saw that a large number of users, and the ecosystem, would benefit from a common platform for application developers who want to use fingerprint devices, while making it more convenient to log on to Windows.”
Windows 7 is Microsoft’s first operating system to offer integrated biometric support. The WBF supports fingerprint biometric devices through a set of components designed to improve the quality, reliability and consistency of the user experience. These include management components that let users and administrators configure biometric devices, either on a single computer or globally for a domain, and core platform components with driver interface definition and a client application programming interface (API).
“The WBF delivers an improved user experience, coupled with a common programming model for using fingerprint devices on Windows, independent of a specific hardware provider,” says Bossio. “The WBF and our investments in the Windows Smart Card Framework (WSF) enable users to make better use of the built-in fingerprint devices that are shipping on many laptops today.”