How to Use Windows Without a Password

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Photo: Hadrian (Shutterstock) – The best safe password is sometimes no password at all, and this works on Windows 10, 11, and Xbox.

Microsoft has launched a password-free sign-in option to Microsoft accounts for consumer-level Windows users, including those running Windows 10 Home edition and, shortly, Windows 11 Home edition. Prior to this update, passwordless sign-ins were only available to enterprise-level Windows users; now, all users can now opt in via their Microsoft Account settings.

Users can access their Microsoft account without a password if this option is enabled. Instead, you’ll use an alternate authentication mechanism, such as the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, or text/email verification codes, to log into your account and a limited few applications, services, and Windows features that need it. Products that are supported include:

  • Your computer running Windows 10 or 11.
  • Your Xbox One or Series X/S.
  • Office 365 applications from Microsoft.
  • Outlook by Microsoft
  • The Microsoft Store is an online shopping mall.
  • Website for Microsoft accounts
  • Plus much more.

So, why would you want to do anything like this? Aside from the convenience, it’s also allegedly safer. Removing your account’s password to enhance security may appear contradictory, but as Microsoft points out, passwords are an untrustworthy security mechanism.

Companies and applications frequently store password data incorrectly, exposing it in data breaches or leaks. Even though passwords are safely kept on the server, there are several techniques for a hacker to brute force passwords in order to get access to someone’s account, such as credential stuffing or password spraying. Anyone, including those of us who employ unique passwords secured by encrypted password managers, is vulnerable to these assaults.

Of course, no authentication technique is without flaws. Biometrics (fingerprint scans, face unlocks, and so on) and text-based verification have their own flaws, especially if you use them as your primary sign-in method. Still, these methods of verification are more secure than passwords, especially if you utilize multi-factor authentication.

How to Enable Password-Free Login for Microsoft Accounts

  1. Navigate to the Microsoft account page.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Security.
  3. Choose “Additional Security Options.”
  4. When prompted, enter your password.
  5. Go to the “Advanced security” page, then scroll down to the “Additional security” section. Under the Passwordless account option, click “Turn on.” This will necessitate the installation of the Microsoft Authenticator software on your smartphone.
  6. To finish the setup, follow the on-screen instructions on your PC and mobile device.
  7. If you haven’t already, we recommend setting “Two-step Verification” in the Additional Security option after enabling Passwordless logins.

You’ll now be able to access your Microsoft Account without entering a password. It’s worth noting that certain older Microsoft products and Windows features, like:

  • Email services such as IMAP and POP are available.
  • Microsoft Office 2010 or earlier.
  • Office for Mac 2011 or earlier is required.
  • Remote desktop access.
  • Credential Manager in Windows.
  • Windows 10 version 1809 or older, including all Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 versions.
  • The Xbox 360 and the original Xbox consoles

However, because Microsoft appears to be dedicated to a password-free world, future first-party companies should embrace the functionality.

Passwordless sign-ins will also operate in conjunction with the stronger hardware-level security requirements introduced by Microsoft with Windows 11, as well as other security features such as OneDrive ransomware protection. These security upgrades might assist address typical cybersecurity flaws such as weak user passwords or a lack of anti-malware or anti-ransomware safeguards.