Microsoft account security info & security codes

Applies to: Microsoft account

For more info about how to manage your security info, see Security Basics.

If you’re having trouble resetting your password because you can’t receive a security code, see Recover your Microsoft account.

For problems with receiving and using security codes, check out some tips for Troubleshooting security code issues.

Manage your security info


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

We use your security info only to verify your identity if you're accessing sensitive personal information or if we detect a problem with your account. We don't use security info to spam you or for any marketing purposes.

Add security info

  1. Sign in to your Security basics page with your Microsoft account.
  2. Select Update info.
  3. Select Add security info then follow the instructions to enter your email or phone number.
  4. We'll send a security code to that new email or phone number. Enter that security code, and select Next. Your new security info will appear in your list.

Update security info

  1. Sign in to your Security basics page with your Microsoft account.
  2. Select Update info.
  3. You may be asked to enter a security 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.
  4. Select Add security info then follow the instructions to enter a new email or phone number. 
  5. We'll send a security code to that new email or phone number. Enter that security code, and select Next. Your new security info will appear in your list.
  6. Choose Remove for any you want to remove.
  7. If you want to update which security info we'll send alerts to, select Change alert options and deselect the checkbox for the one you no longer want to receive alerts for, unless they're critical.

Remove security info

  1. Sign in to your Security basics page with your Microsoft account.
  2. Select Update info.
  3. You may be asked to enter a security 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.
  4. 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.

Troubleshooting security code issues


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

There are a number of possible explanations for why security 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 calls or texts from unknown numbers?
If so, change your phone settings then 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. To prevent this from happening in the future, mark Microsoft as a trusted sender. Valid security codes come from an @accountprotection.microsoft.com email address.

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. You may need to enter a security code to get to this page. 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 security 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 security 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 security code from the message.
  5. Return to the window that is asking you for the security code. Enter the code and follow the instructions.