Enabling Diagnostic Startup mode through MSConfig in Windows 11 or Windows 10 can be a helpful feature to troubleshoot system issues. However, if you have enabled this mode and then restarted your computer, you may encounter an error message that says “Something happened and your PIN isn’t available. Click to set up your PIN again.” and unable to sign in to Windows.
This error message can be frustrating and cause panic, especially if you rely on PIN sign-in to access your Windows account and there is no other way to sign in to Windows. In this article, we will explain why this error message occurs and provide solutions to help you regain access to your Windows account.
Why MSConfig Diagnostic Startup causes issue with your PIN?
The Diagnostic Startup mode in MSConfig is a Windows feature designed to troubleshoot problems with your system. It loads Windows with only the minimum set of drivers and services required for the system to function. While this can be helpful for identifying and resolving system issues, it can also cause problems with certain features.
When you enable the Diagnostic Startup mode in MSConfig and restart your computer, you may encounter the error message “Something happened and your PIN isn’t available.” This error message occurs because the Diagnostic Startup mode tells Windows to disable unnecessary services, which includes the service that handles the PIN sign-in.
The PIN sign-in feature in Windows allows you to log in to your account using a Windows Hello PIN instead of a password. It’s a convenient and secure way to access your computer, but it relies on specific drivers and services that may not be loaded in Diagnostic Startup mode. Therefore, enabling Diagnostic Startup mode can cause issues with the PIN sign-in feature, resulting in the error message mentioned above.
Solutions for “Something happened and your PIN isn’t available” caused by MSConfig
Try signing in with password
If you encounter this error message, the first thing you should do is click on the available options and see if there is an option that allows you to sign in with your password. Signing in with your password will still get you into Windows, even in Diagnostic Startup mode.
However, if you have previously enabled the “For improved security, only allow Windows Hello sign-in for Microsoft accounts on this device” option in the sign-in options in Windows 11 or 10, the password sign-in option may also be removed by Windows if you are booting in Diagnostic Startup mode. This could leave you stuck without any other way to sign in to your account.
If that’s the case, the next solution is to force enable the password sign-in option via Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) so that you can boot into your computer again even if MSConfig Diagnostic Startup mode has messed up your computer’s PIN.
Forced enable password sign-in option via Windows RE
If you are unable to sign in with your password, you will need to force enable the password sign-in option via the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE). This involves modifying the registry in Windows RE to enable the password sign-in option. Here’s how:
- On the Windows sign-in screen, click on the Power button, then hold down the Shift key and click on Restart. This will restart your computer and take you to the Windows RE screen, where you can access advanced options such as the Command Prompt.
- Click on “Troubleshoot“.
- Next, click on “Advanced options“.
- Click on “Command Prompt” to open a Command Prompt window in Windows RE.
- If your drive is encrypted with BitLocker, you will be asked to provide the recovery key. Enter the key to continue.
- In the Command Prompt window, type
bcdeditand press Enter. Look for “osdevice” under Windows Boot Loader and note down the drive letter for your Windows installation. This drive letter is different from the one you see when signed into Windows.
The “bcedit” command displays the current boot configuration data store settings. In this case, we use the BCDEdit command to determine the drive letter of the Windows installation, which is necessary to enable the password sign-in option in the registry using the appropriate commands.
- Type the following commands one by one to enable the password sign-in option in the registry (replace “d:” with the drive letter you noted down earlier, as this drive letter may be different for each user):
reg load HKLM\OffReg d:\windows\system32\config\SOFTWARE reg add "HKLM\OffReg\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\PasswordLess\Device" /v DevicePasswordLessBuildVersion /d 0 /t REG_DWORD /f reg unload HKLM\OffReg exit
These commands load the SOFTWARE registry hive into a temporary key, set a value in the registry to enable password sign-in, and then unload the temporary key from the registry.
- Exit the Command Prompt window and click on “Continue” to exit Windows RE and continue to Windows 11 or 10.
- You should now see the password sign-in option on the login screen. Click on “Sign in options,” and then click on “Password.” Enter your password and click “Sign in.”
- If you have successfully logged in to your Windows account, remember to open MSConfig again and set your computer back to booting normal startup mode.
If the first method of booting your computer into Windows RE doesn’t work, you can try an alternative method. Restart your computer, and when the Windows logo appears, press and hold the power button until your computer turns off. Repeat this step twice, and then your computer should enter the Windows Recovery Environment.
By following these steps, you can force enable the password sign-in option and regain access to your Windows account even if the PIN sign-in service is not loaded due to the Diagnostic startup mode in MSConfig.
In conclusion, enabling Diagnostic Startup mode in MSConfig can be a useful tool to troubleshoot system issues in Windows 11 or Windows 10. However, it can cause an error message that prevents users from logging into their accounts using their PIN. The solutions provided in this article can help you regain access to your Windows account by forcibly enabling the password sign-in option via Windows Recovery Environment.
To prevent this error message from occurring in the future, it is recommended to avoid enabling Diagnostic Startup mode unless it is necessary for troubleshooting purposes. Additionally, it is important to always have a backup plan to access your account, such as a password, if your PIN becomes unavailable. Remember to always be cautious when making changes to your computer’s settings and consult with a professional if necessary.