Security info & security codes

To help protect you, we're asking everyone with a Microsoft account to have up-to-date security info, like an alternative email address or phone number. Then, if you forget your password or if someone else tries to take over your account, Microsoft can send a security code to your security info. When you send it back to us, we know that you're really you, and we can get you back in to your Microsoft account.

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How to add or remove security info

To add or remove security info to your Microsoft account right now, go to Manage advanced security on the Microsoft account website and sign in. Under Security info helps keep your account secure, you’ll see the security info we have for you now.

How to add a phone number

  1. On the Manage advanced security web page, choose Add a new phone number.

  2. Follow the instructions to enter your phone number and choose whether you want to get security codes by text or phone call.

  3. Press Next and we’ll send a security code to the phone number you entered.

  4. Enter that security code in the next field and press Next again. You should now see your phone number in the list of security info.

How to add an alternative email address

  1. On the Manage advanced security web page, choose Add a new email address.

  2. Follow the instructions to enter a different email address than your Microsoft account email.

  3. Press Next and we'll send a security code to the email address you entered.

  4. Enter that security code in the next field and press Next again. You should now see that email address in the list of security info.

How to remove security info

  1. On the Manage advanced security web page, choose Remove next to any email address or phone number you don't want to use as security info any more.

I'm not getting my security code. What do I do?

  • Does your phone block calls or texts from unknown numbers?

    Unblock your phone and choose I don’t have a code. We'll send another security code.

  • Did your email send your security code to your junk folder?

    Check your junk folder for a message from Microsoft account and use the code you find there.

  • Is your phone number entered correctly, with all the numbers in the right order?

    If it's been entered wrong, try adding the phone number again.

  • Is the country code correct for your phone number?

    Try adding the phone number again and use the drop-down list to choose the right country code for that phone number.

  • Is your email address spelled correctly?

    If it's misspelled, try adding the email address again.

  • Does your alternative email address end in Hotmail.com, Live.com or Outlook.com?

    If so, you're using one Microsoft account to verify another Microsoft account, which will work, but keeping track of which one you're signed in with can be tricky. Here's what's probably happening: when you sign in to the second account (to get the code sent to that address), most browsers automatically sign you out of the first account (the one that's actually requesting the code).

    If you're using Internet Explorer, you can sign in to the second account using an InPrivate Browsing session. This lets you get the code without having to sign out of the account that's asking for it.

    1. When you're prompted to enter the security code sent to your alternative email address, don't close Internet Explorer.

    2. Press Ctrl+Shift+P to open a new Internet Explorer window and turn on InPrivate Browsing.

    3. In the new window, sign in to your alternative email account and look for the message from the Microsoft account team. Copy or write down the security code from the message.

    4. Return to the Internet Explorer window that is asking you for the code. Enter the security code and follow the instructions. If you're using a different browser, check that browser's help for info about "private browsing".

I can't get text messages. Can I still get codes with my phone?

If you can't get a security code by text message, you can still use your phone number. When you add the number, choose the option to get an automated phone call, instead.

A message told me to "make sure you can receive a security code"

When you see a message asking you to make sure you can receive a security code, it means you'll need to verify or add new security info. You can skip it for 24 hours at a time but after seven days from the first notice, you’ll have to verify or add new security info before you can sign in again.

We won't ask you to verify your security info every time you sign in. Occasionally, we might ask you to check it again – for example, if you haven't signed in for a long time. This is our way of double-checking whether your info is current.

How does Microsoft use my security info?

Your security info is only used to help protect your account. We'll never use security info to spam you or for any marketing purposes – it's only to verify your identity if there's ever a problem with your account.

Is a security code the same thing as a password?

No A security code doesn't replace your password, so it won't work to enter a security code in the Password box.

None of my security info will work any more. What can I do?

If one piece of security info isn’t right, remove it by following the steps in How to add or remove security info.

If you only have one piece of security info, or if all of your security info won't work, there's a 30-day waiting period before you can add new info. This waiting period is to deter people from taking over your account. During this 30 day period you'll still be able to sign in to most of your services unless they require a security code. After that 30 days, you'll be notified that the wait is over and it's time to enter new security info. For more info, see How do I replace all my security info?