Security info & security codes

Security information is an alternative email address or phone number that you add to your account. If you forget your password, or if someone else is trying to take over your account, we send a security code to that alternative email or phone number. When you give the code back to us, then we know that you’re really you, and we can get you back in to your Microsoft account.

Adding security information

  1. Go to the Security settings page, and sign in with your Microsoft account.

  2. Under Security info helps keep your account secure, choose Add security info.

  3. Follow the instructions to enter your email or phone number, then click Next.

  4. We’ll send a security code to that new email or phone number. Enter that security code, and click Next again. Your new security info will appear in your list.

Removing security info

  1. Go to the Security settings page, and sign in with your Microsoft account.

  2. If you’re asked to enter a security code to continue but you can’t use your security information, select I don’t have any of these or I can’t verify my account from the drop-down list, then follow the instructions to reset your security information.

  3. In the Security settings page, you’ll see your security information under Security information helps keep your account secure. Select Remove for any you want to remove. You may be asked to add new security information before you can remove the old information.

If you remove all your security information, there’s a 30-day wait during which we help protect sensitive parts of your account so that nobody can change your security settings or use your payment options. During this period you can still use your email, Skype, OneDrive and devices as usual. After the 30 days, you’ll be notified that the wait is over and it’s time to enter new security information.

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

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

    Unblock your phone, then select 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.

  • Did you enter your phone number correctly?

    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 select 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, or

    If so, you’re using one Microsoft account to verify another Microsoft account. This can make it tricky to keep track of which one you’re signed in to. 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).

    To get your security code, sign in to the second account with a browser in privacy mode. This lets you stay signed in to both accounts at the same time.

    1. When you’re prompted to enter the security code that was sent to your alternative email address, don’t close the browser window.

    2. Open a new window in privacy mode. Ctrl+Shift+P is the shortcut for InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer and Edge. If you’re using a different browser, check that browser’s help for information about privacy mode.

    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 window that is asking you for the security code. Enter the code and follow the instructions.

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 that you can receive a security code”

When you see a message asking you to make sure that you can receive a security code, it means that you need to verify or add new security information. 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 information before you can sign in again.

We won’t ask you to verify your security information 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.