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Enable Two-Factor Authentication on your Microsoft Account

Posted September 2014 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 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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