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Microsoft accounts no longer require a password – here’s how to set it up

You can now use the Authenticator app, email or SMS codes, or Windows Hello instead of having a password.

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Image: KnowTechie

Companies have been trying to ditch the password for years, and now Microsoft is ready to take the plunge. Starting today, anyone with a Microsoft account can use passwordless methods to sign into their account. That’s a win for security, but it’s also a big win for you, as all of the methods are easier than typing in convoluted passwords.

Instead of typing in your password (or paste it in from your password manager), you can use the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, shortcodes sent either via email or SMS, or a physical security key. This works on any Microsoft service, from Xbox to Outlook, OneDrive, and everything in between. Yes, even for that initial login to Windows on first boot.

Here’s how to use it.

You can now ditch your password for Microsoft services – here’s how

Before you start, you’ll need to set up the Microsoft Authenticator app on your mobile device. Download it and follow the prompts to add your Microsoft account

  1. Go to your Microsoft account settings

  2. Click on Security then on Additional security optionsmicrosoft account advanced security settings

  3. Go down to Passwordless account and click Turn onmicrosoft passwordless account settings

  4. Follow the prompts to verify your account

  5. You’ll need to add a recovery email here, so you can get back into your account if something happens to the device your Microsoft Authenticator is on

  6. Approve the request sent to your Microsoft Authenticator app

Now when you have to sign in to your Microsoft account, like if you’re signing in to Windows, you’ll be able to use the Authenticator app to do so, without a password. You can also set up Windows Hello, or a physical security key from the Additional security options page you used earlier.

Microsoft says that these other passwordless ways of logging in are more secure than using a password, especially since there are some truly terrible passwords still in use.

It’s also safer, as keyloggers or other hacks can’t sniff credentials from the authenticator app or your webcam. If you can’t use a passwordless method like this, turn on two-factor authentication on every account you can, use unique passwords for every account, and use a password manager to store them.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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