A couple of days ago Microsoft started rolling out two-step authentication for Microsoft Accounts. This small security measure can help keep your account more secure. By enabling this feature, you’ll be required to enter your password as usual, but then you’ll be asked to enter a security code which can be sent to you by e-mail, SMS, or phone call, or you can use an authenticator app on your mobile device. You can also select the option “I sign into this account frequently” to add it as a trusted device so you don’t have to enter a security code every time.

Enable Two-Step Verification

Step 1: Go to https://account.live.com/proofs/Manage and make sure that you’ve added an alternate e-mail address and provided a phone number (preferably your mobile number so it can receive SMS messages) to your Microsoft account.

Step 2: Click on the “Set up two-step verification” link.

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Step 3: Follow the setup process until you reach the end, then click “Done.” You may be asked to provide a verification code, sent to either your phone via SMS or to your alternate e-mail address, before you can complete the two-step setup. Once it’s complete, you should receive an e-mail confirmation from Microsoft sent to your alternate e-mail address.

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Pair an authenticator app with your Microsoft account

You can get security codes by e-mail, phone call, or SMS, but an even easier way is to use an authenticator app on your mobile device. Authenticator apps, like Google Authenticator, run locally on your device and work even if your device doesn’t have an Internet connection. To use an authenticator app, you first have to pair it with your Microsoft account.

Step 1: Download the authenticator app of your choice to your device. Android, iOS, and BlackBerry users can use Google Authenticator, while Windows Phone users can use Microsoft Authenticator.

Step 2: Go back to your Microsoft account security info page and click on the “Set up” link under Authenticator app.

Step 3: Launch your authenticator app, then scan the bar code on the screen.

Step 4: When the security code appears in the authenticator app, enter it in the box, then click on the Pair button.

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