Security info & security codes

Security info 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 address or phone number. When you send 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 info

  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 press Next.

  4. We'll send a security code to the email or phone number you just gave us. Enter that security code, and press 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, and you can't get that code, choose I don't have any of these or I can't verify my account from the drop-down list, then follow the instructions.

  3. If you weren't asked for a security code, you'll see your security info under Security info helps keep your account secure. Choose Remove for any you want to remove, and add new security info when prompted.

When you remove all your security info, there's a 30-day wait during which we help protect sensitive parts of your account so nobody can change your security settings or use your payment options. You can use your email, Skype, OneDrive and devices as usual, although if you've turned on two-step verification, you'll need to use a trusted device or app passwords you've set up for your devices.

After the 30 days, you'll be notified that the wait is over and it's time to enter new security info.

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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 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, or

    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.