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If you’re tired of having to remember or reset your password, try using a FIDO2–compliant security key to sign in to your Microsoft account instead. 

What is a security key?

A security key is a physical device that you can use instead of your user name and password to sign in. Since it needs to be unlocked with a fingerprint or PIN, even if someone has your security key, they won’t be able to sign in without your fingerprint or PIN.

Security keys are usually available for purchase from retailers that sell computer accessories.

Tip: You may sometimes hear security keys referred to as FIDO2 keys. FIDO stands for Fast IDentity Online and the standards are set and managed by the FIDO Alliance.

How to sign in with a security key

There are different types of security keys that you can use, like a USB key that you plug in to your device or an NFC key that you tap on an NFC reader. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the type of security key you have by reading the instruction manual from the manufacturer.

To sign into your Microsoft account

  1. Go to Start Settings Accounts Sign-in options.

  2. Select Security Key.

  3. Select Manage and follow the instructions.

To add a security key as a sign in method for your Microsoft account:

  1. Go to the Microsoft account page and sign in as you normally would.

  2. Select Security > More security options.

  3. Select Add a new way to sign in or verify.

  4. Select Use a security key.

  5. Identify what type of key you have (USB or NFC) and select Next.

  6. You will be redirected to the setup experience where you will insert or tap your key.

  7. Create a PIN (or enter an existing PIN if you have already created one).

  8. Take the follow-up action by touching either the button or gold disk if your key has one (or read the instruction manual to figure out what else it might be).

  9. Name your security key so that you can distinguish it from other keys.

  10. Sign out and open Microsoft Edge, select Use Windows Hello or security key instead, and sign in by inserting or tapping your key.

Note: Your security key manufacturer might provide software that can help you manage your key, such as by changing the PIN or creating a fingerprint.

Manage your keys

Follow these steps to delete keys that you have set up for your account:

  1. Go to the Microsoft account page and sign in as you normally would.

  2. Select Security > Advanced security options. Manage your security keys under Ways to prove who you are.

Learn more

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