Two-step verification, often referred by users as “two-factor authentication” is an advanced security layer included on Microsoft Account to make it more difficult for hackers to get access and gain control of your account.

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Microsoft offers three ways to set up two-step verification. You can use a secondary email address, phone number, or you can also opt to configure an authenticator app. Once a second authentication is set up, every time you sign in from a new location or on a new device, you’ll be prompted a security code to prove that you’re, who to say you are.

In this guide, we’ll show you the steps to set up two-step verification on your Microsoft Account to prevent others from trying to break into your Outlook, Xbox Live, OneDrive, Office 365, and other Microsoft services.

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  1. How to set up two-step verification using authenticator app

To set up two-step verification using Authenticator, follow the steps below:

Use the following instructions to make your account more secure using the authenticator app:

Step 1: Click on this link to access your Security settings on your Microsoft Account and sign in with your credentials.

Alternatively, you can also sign in to your Outlook  account, click your name in the top-right corner, and click Account settings.

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

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Step 3: Click Next.

Step 4: If you’re trying to set up an account that is connected to a mobile device, it’s likely that won’t be offered the choice to select the verification method, but if you do, then choose An app from the drop-down menu.

Step 5: Select your device (e.g., Windows Phone, Android, or iPhone), and then click Next.

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Step 6: Follow the next instructions depending on your device platform:

Windows Phone:

  • Install the Authenticator app.
  • Launch the app.
  • Tap the “+” button to add a new account.
  • Tap the camera button on the screen and scan the barcode to pair the device

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  • Type the code generated on your phone on the last step, and click Next.

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Android:

  • Install the Microsoft Account app.
  • Launch the app.
  • Click on the set up now
  • Enter the credentials for the account you want to associate, and click Next.
  • Click Finishto complete.

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iPhone:

  • Install the Azure Authenticator app.
  • Launch the app.
  • Clickscan QR code to pair your device.
  • Then type the code generated on your phone on the last step and clickNext.
  • Print your recoverycode in case you need to regain control of your account, and click Next.
  • Click Next
  • Click Finish.

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  1. How to set up two-step verification with a phone number

Another way you can set up two-step verification on your Outlook and Microsoft accounts is by using your phone number.

  • Follow this link to access your Security settings on your Microsoft Account and sign in with your credentials.

Alternatively, you can also sign in to your Outlook.com account, click your name in the top-right corner, and click Account settings.

  • Click the Set up two-step verification
  • Click Next.
  • Select the A phone number option from the drop-down list and enter your phone information.
  • Choose whether you like to get the security code via text or call and click Next.

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  • Enter the code you have received on phone and click Next.

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  • Click Next
  • Click Finish to complete.
  1. How to set up two-step verification with an email address

To set up two-step verification on your Outlook and Microsoft by usingalternative email address, follow the steps below:

  • Follow this link to access your Security settings on your Microsoft Account and sign in with your credentials.

Alternatively, you can also sign in to your Outlook.com account, click your name in the top-right corner, and click Account settings.

  • Click the Set up two-step verification
  • Click Next.
  • Select An alternate email address option from the drop-down list and enter your new email address.
  • Click Next.

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  • Sign in with your alternate email account, enter requested code on your Microsoft Account, and click Next.

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  • Click Next
  • Click Finish to complete.
  1. Generating new app passwords

After setting up two-step verification apps and devices, such as Xbox 360, Outlook desktop app for PC or Mac, Office 2010, Office for Mac 2011, or earlier, Windows Essentials apps, and others will stop working with your old password. The reason is that they don’t support two-factor authentication, but you can fix this issue by creating an app password for each app and device that requires it.

  • Follow this link to access your Security settings on your Microsoft Account and sign in with your credentials.
  • Under App passwords, click the Create a new app password

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  • Type the new password you want to create on the app or device

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  • Repeat the previous steps to create an app password for each device.

Keep in mind that if you happen to forget the app password there isn’t a way to retrieve it, you’ll need to create a new one. If you want to stop using app passwords, simply go back to the Security settings page, and click the Remove existing app passwords link.

  1. Go back to one-step verification

While it’s recommended to set up two-step verification on your account and keep it setup that way, it might come the time when you don’t use this extra security layer, or you may want to change the authentication method. As such, to disable two-step verification do use the following steps:

  • Follow this link to access your Security settings on your Microsoft Account and sign in with your credentials.
  • Click the Turn off two-step verification
  • Click Yes to confirm.
  • Under Identity verification app, click the Turn off existing apps link.

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  • Click Remove to complete removing two-step verification on your account.

Goodluck!