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Turning on Two-Factor Authentication – Microsoft Accounts

This step-by-step guide shows you how to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) on your computer and mobile devices for Microsoft accounts.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a procedure that typically requires a combination of something a user knows (pin, secret question) and something a user has (cards, fingerprint) in order to access a program or operating system.

2-factor authentication

Why is it important to turn it on?

Using 2FA to access your favourite programs provides enhanced security to traditional usernames and passwords. The multiple layers of authentication increase confidence that the user requesting access is actually who they claim to be, specifically you.

Where do I turn it on?

Where to turn on 2FA within a program depends on each program. However, the steps are universally simple and somewhat similar. Icons and language may differ slightly depending on the program, or device you are using.

Setting up 2FA for your Microsoft Account on your computer

Once you turn on 2FA for your Microsoft account, you’ll get a security code sent to your email, phone or authenticator app every time you sign into an unknown device. When it is turned off, you will get notifications periodically or when there might be a risk to your account’s security.

1.        Sign in to your Microsoft or Outlook account. You can sign in or create an account by visiting Microsoft.

2-factor authentication - Microsoft - step 1

2.        Click on your profile in the top right corner, and then click My Microsoft Account

2-factor authentication - Microsoft - step 2

3.        Scroll down to Update your security info, select Update. If you haven’t visited the security page recently, you may be asked to log in again

2-factor authentication - Microsoft - step 3

4.        In the banner to the right of the security heading choose two-step verification to turn on

2-factor authentication - Microsoft - step 4

5.        Click on Set up two-step verification

2-factor authentication - Microsoft - step 5

6.        Follow the on-screen steps and click Next

2-factor authentication - Microsoft - step 6

7.        You will be asked if you would like to set up an authenticator app. Select your preferred app and follow the on-screen instructions to install.

Once complete click Next

2-factor authentication - Microsoft - step 7

8.        If you use apps or devices that do not accept security codes you may need to set up an app password. If this is the case follow the on-screen instructions or click Next

2-factor authentication - Microsoft - step 8

9.        Click Finish

2-factor authentication - Microsoft - step 9

Third party 2FA apps

If you would like to use a third party 2FA app, there are many available. Most are free of charge and effective with Microsoft. The recommendation is to do your research and find a solution that’s right for you. Below are some examples of 2FA apps currently available.

Google Authenticator Application

Google Authenticator

Lastpass Authenticator Application

LastPass Authenticator

Microsoft Authenticator Application

Microsoft Authenticator

Authy Authenticator Application

Authy Authenticator

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