How to log into Windows without a password
Microsoft recently added a passwordless sign-in option to Microsoft accounts for consumer-level Windows users, including anyone using Windows 10 Home Edition and, soon to be, Windows 11 Home Edition. change, password-less logins were reserved for enterprise-level Windows users, but all users now can sign up from their Microsoft account settings.
By enabling this option, users can use their Microsoft account without a password. Instead, you Sign in to your account and a handful of Windows apps, services, and features that require it using an alternate authentication method, such as the Microsoft Authenticator app, Hello Windows, or SMS / email verification codes. Supported products include:
- Your Windows 10 or 11 PC
- Your Xbox Series X / S or Xbox One
- Microsoft Office 365 apps
- Microsoft Outlook
- Microsoft Store
- Microsoft account website
- And more.
So why would you want to do this? Well, convenience aside, it’s ostensibly safer. Removing your account password to increase its security may seem counterintuitive, but like Microsoft itself points out, passwords are an unreliable method of security.
Businesses and applications often store password data incorrectly, resulting in its exposure in data breaches or leaks. But even though passwords are saved securely on the server side, there are plenty of ways for a hacker to force passwords to breaking into someone’s account, like stuffing credentials or spraying passwords. Anyone is vulnerable to these attacks, even those of us who use unique passwords protected by encrypted password managers.
Of course, no authentication method is perfect. Common alternatives such as biometrics (fingerprint scans, face unlock, etc.) and text-based verification have their own vulnerabilities, especially if you use them as single sign-on method. However, these verification methods are more secure than passwords, especially if you are using multi-factor logins.
How to enable passwordless logins for your Microsoft accounts
- Connect to the Microsoft account page.
- Go to Settings> Security.
- To select “Additional security options”.
- Type your password when prompted.
- Go to “Advanced security” page, then scroll to “Additional security. “ Click on “Light up” under the Account without password option. This will require the Microsoft Authenticator app for your smartphone.
- Follow the onscreen instructions on your PC and mobile device to complete the setup.
- We also recommend that you activate “Two-step verification” in the Additional Security menu after enabling passwordless logins if you have not already done so.
youi now Sign in to your Microsoft account without a password. Note that some older Microsoft products and Windows features still require a password, such as:
- IMAP and POP messaging services
- Office 2010 or earlier
- Office for Mac 2011 or earlier
- Remote office
- Windows Credentials Manager
- Windows 10 version 1809 or earlier, including all versions of Windows 8.1 and Windows 7
- Xbox 360 and original Xbox consoles.
However, Microsoft seems committed to a password-less ecosystem, so future proprietary products should support this feature.
Logins without a password will also work in tandem with the Microsoft higher hardware-level security standards is introduction with Windows 11, as good as other safety functions like OneDrive ransomware prevention. These security improvements could help mitigate common cybersecurity vulnerabilities, such as weak users passwords or a lack of anti-malware or anti-ransomware protections.