Earlier you had to enter only your user name and password to sign in to your Microsoft account. But now you have an option to enable two step verification which hardens the security for your Microsoft accounts. If you have enabled the two step verification for your account, then you would have to enter a security code sent to your mobile phone, in addition to your username and password. This makes it very hard for a hacker to break into your account. Even if a hackers finds your username and password, they cannot find your security code because it is generated at the sign-in time and sent to your mobile phone.
Before you can enable the two step verification for Microsoft accounts, make sure you have a mobile phone ready to receive the security code. This phone number, that you add to your Microsoft account, would be used to receive the security code. If you lose the mobile phone number or it stops working, then you can get the security code at an alternate e-mail address.
You can follow these easy steps to enable the two step verification for your Microsoft account :
- Visit https://account.live.com/ in your web browser and sign in to your Microsoft account.
- Click on the Overview and then Security info sections in the left side menu. Alternatively, you can just visit https://account.live.com/proofs/Manage to open the Security info section directly.
- If you have not added a mobile phone, then click on the Add link under the Phone number section and follow the on-screen instructions. Typically, the process involves verifying your phone number by entering the security code sent to it.
- In the Security info section, click on the Set up two-step verification link.
- The next page would mention what two-step verification is and how it works. Click on the Next button to continue.
- Choose an alternate email address or your mobile phone number and then click Next. The security code would be sent to the selected alternate email address or the mobile phone number. You have to wait for a few minutes before you receive the code.
- Enter the seven digit security code that you have received on your phone or email address and click on the Next button.
- You would be shown a confirmation message that you have turned on the two-step verification for your Microsoft account. You can now click on the Done button to go back to accounts page.
- Now if you try to login to your Microsoft account, you would be shown a second step after entering your username and password. In this second step, you would have to enter the seven digit security code sent to your mobile phone. If you do not want to be bothered by the security code on the same computer again and again, then you can select the checkbox I sign in frequently on this device. Dont ask me for a code., so that it would not ask for the security code on that device again.
In case you have lost your mobile phone, just click on the Use a different verification option link and choose an alternate email address where you want to receive your security code.
After enabling the two-step verification, you may not be able to login to your Microsoft accounts using various apps unless you use an authenticator app. Android, iOS, BlackBerry users can use the Google Authenticator while Microsoft Phone users can use the Microsoft Authenticator to sign-in using the two-step verification.