Enable Two-Factor Authentication on your Microsoft Account

Posted in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP by Steve Sinchak

Enabling two-factor authentication is a great way to add an additional level of protection to your Microsoft account.  Even if your password is stolen, your account is still protected because two-factor authetication requires an additional level of verification to log in. Microsoft calls their version of two-factor authentication "two-step verification" and it works by providing you with a random code that must be entered in additional to your password when you log in.  Microsoft offers three ways to generate the verification code.  It can be sent via e-mail, SMS message or using a token generator app on your mobile phone. 

The first step to enable two-factor authentication on your Microsoft account is to sign in to your account settings by going to the following address https://account.live.com/proofs/manage. After you log in, you will be asked to verify your identity using a text message or a phone call. 

Once you reach the "Protect Your Account" screen, click Set up two-step verification

Click Next.

Now you will be able to select what you want to use for your second level of verification.  Select an app, phone number or alternate e-mail from the drop down list. Then follow the on-screen steps for the selected verification type. 

Application Verification:

Phone Verification:

When completed a special recovery code will be displayed.  Save this code in a safe place.  I suggest pricning so you have an "offline" copy so that you can get back into your account in a worst case scenario. 

Some Microsoft applications and services do not support two-factor authentication so Microsoft created a nifty work-around called App Passwords that offer a high degree of protection by generating a special password just for a specific application or service.  Learn more about how to setup App Passwords here

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