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Your Microsoft Account No Longer Requires a Password … Wait, What?

Josh Hendrickson

Microsoft has spent the last few years edging toward a passwordless future. And now, the company is allowing users to remove passwords from their Microsoft account in favor of Windows Hello, the Microsoft Authenticator app, SMS sign-in, and other forms of authentication. It’s an odd move, but it comes with a few major benefits.

Passwords are often the least secure form of authentication. Even if you take the time to write a unique password for every website or run everything through a password manager, there’s a chance that hackers could obtain or simply guess your credentials.

But hackers can’t steal your face or fingerprint. So while Windows Hello and mobile authentication aren’t bulletproof, they’re significantly more secure than old-fashioned passwords. They also eliminate the need to replace a forgotten or compromised password, a hassle that Microsoft says leads to abandoned accounts.

Microsoft Authenticator running on an ANdroid phone with Passwordless entry enabled.
Josh Hendrickson

Ready to go passwordless? First thing’s first, download the Microsoft Authenticator app (iOS or Android) and log in to your Microsoft account. This app generates one-time passwords or lets you press a quick authentication button when you try to log in to a Microsoft service—very nice.

Now that Microsoft Authenticator is set up, visit the Microsoft Account dashboard in your browser and navigate to the “Security” tab. You should see an option for “Additional Security.” Click that, and enter the “Passwordless Account” settings to begin your passwordless future.

If you regret your decision, you can always re-enable passwords from the “Passwordless Account” settings. But I have a feeling you’ll stick with passwordless sign-in. It’s genuinely a faster, more secure experience.

Source: Microsoft via PCWorld

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