Like a spare key for your Microsoft account?

Key in lockMicrosoft accounts are becoming more important. All downloads of purchases from Microsoft require us to have an account, access to the Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage requires one and, if we do as Microsoft would like us to do, every time we turn on a Windows 8 or Windows 10 computer we sign into our Microsoft account.

What happens if you suddenly can’t access your account? There are several ways this could happen, including someone having hacked into your account and changing the security information. As I’ve written before, (see, for instance, this blog about Gmail passwords) it can be very difficult to prove an account is yours if you’ve been locked out of it.

At the cost of just five minutes of your time
, you can create yourself a “spare master key” that will over-ride all other access methods to your account. This means you can get into the account even if it’s been hacked and the sign-on information changed. This “spare key” is not to be used lightly, though. If you do use it then all your other security information will need to be re-entered into your account (mobile phone number, secondary email account etc).

So, how do you create a Microsoft Recovery Code?

Click on this link:

https://account.live.com/proofs/Manage

sign into your account in the normal way, and enter any security information that is required. Yes, that does, of course, mean that you can only create a recovery code when you already know your security information. You can’t (for obvious reasons) create a recovery code if you’ve already lost access to your account.

Once you have convinced Microsoft that you are genuine, you will be presented with a page showing various aspects of your security information. Just scroll down until you see the section headed (natch) “Recovery Code”.

Click on the link that says “Set up recovery code”

You will then be presented with a screen showing your new, 25 character, recovery code. Record this information in the same place that you have recorded the username and password for your Microsoft account.

Close the browser window.

Make cup of tea.

Using A Microsoft Account Recovery Code

If the day comes when you need to use the recovery code, proceed as follows:

Click on this link:

https://login.live.com/

Click on the link that says “Can’t access your account?”

Click in the circle next to the reason that most closely matches your situation and click “next”.

Identify the account you are going to recover by entering the email address associated with the account and enter the information that matches the “captcha”.

Key in lockThe next screen will ask you to choose how you want to receive your security code. Answer by choosing “I don’t have any of these”.

The next screen will then invite you to enter your recovery code. Just do so, and then click on the button that says “use recovery code”.

You will then be back into your account. Note that you will then need to re-enter your security information (mobile number, secondary email address etc). Also note that your recovery code can only be used once, so, now that you are convinced of how worthwhile it was to set up a recovery code, go back to the start of this blog post and create yourself a new one ready for the next time that you need it.

© 2011-2019 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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