Microsoft account security info & verification codes

Security info confirms your identity

Security info is an alternate contact 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 verification code to that alternate email or phone number. When you give the code back to us, we know that you’re really you so we can help get you back into your Microsoft account.

We use your security info only to verify your identity if you're accessing personal information or if we detect a problem with your account. 

Note: This article is about security info. If you have lost, forgotten or have other password issues, see Change or reset your Windows password.

Before we start into how to manage your security info, let's make sure we’ve successfully sent your verification code.

Manage your security info

You can change your password, update info, or review recent activity. If you're not already signed in to your Microsoft account, you'll see a prompt.

Change your security information

Manage your security info

On your Security basics account page, you can add, update, or remove security info. Select any of the following to find out how.

If you want to add a new email address or phone number, read How to add security info to your Microsoft account.

Make sure the list of phone numbers or email you use to sign in to your account is up to date. Open your Sign-in options to turn off sign-in preferences for any phone number or email you don't use often

  1. On the Security basics page, select the Update info button. If you're not already signed in to your Microsoft account, you'll be prompted to sign in.

  2. You may be asked to enter a verification code to continue. If you don't have access to your alternate email or phone number, choose I don't have any of these and follow the instructions to replace your security info.

  3. You'll see your security info under Security settings. Choose Remove for any you want to remove. You may be asked to add new security info before you can remove the old info.

Note: If you request removal of all security info in your account, the info doesn’t actually change for 30 days. During this time, we cannot accept further changes or additions to security settings or billing info. Your account is still open and active, and you can still use your email, Skype, OneDrive, and devices as usual. We’ll let you know when it's time to enter new security info.

Troubleshooting verification code issues

There are a number of possible explanations for why verification codes don't always arrive. Read through the list of the most common causes, and see if any of them apply to you.

Does your phone block texts from unknown numbers?
If so, change your phone settings then choose I don't have a code. We'll send another verification code.

Did your email send your verification code to your junk folder? 

Check your junk email folder for a message from a Microsoft account, and use the code sent to you. Valid verification codes come from an @accountprotection.microsoft.com email address.

Mark @accountprotection.microsoft.com as a trusted sender to receive your verification code in your inbox.

Is your phone number or email address entered correctly?
To keep your information safe when you're signing in, we only show you the last two digits of your phone number or the first two characters of your email address.

To see if your security info is correct:

  1. Sign in to your Security basics page with your Microsoft account.

  2. Select Update info.

  3. Choose a method that you know works, or choose I don't have any of these to replace your security info.

Does your alternate email address end in @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, or @msn.com?
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 email), most browsers automatically sign you out of the first account (the one that's actually requesting the code).

To get your verification code:

  1. Using a browser in privacy mode, sign in with the first account. This lets you stay signed in to both accounts at the same time.

  2. When you're prompted to enter the verification code that was sent to your alternate email address, don't close the browser window.

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

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

  5. Return to the window that is asking you for the verification code. Enter the code and follow the instructions.

When you see a message asking you to make sure you can receive a verification code, 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 while. This is our way to make sure your info is current.

No. A verification code doesn't replace your password, so it won't work to enter a verification code in the password box. We use verification codes in addition to passwords as an extra layer of security in case someone else learns your password.

Need more help?

Expand your skills
Explore Training
Get new features first
Join Microsoft Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×