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Microsoft Is One Step Closer to Permanently Eliminating Passwords

Microsoft’s efforts to create “a world without passwords” continue with the addition of an SMS code login feature to Windows 10.

The next version of Windows 10 will allow you to sign in to your Microsoft account using an SMS code sent to your phone. The feature, which allows you to sign in and configure your Microsoft account on any Windows 10 device, is now available to Windows 10 Home Insiders (Build 18309).

There’s a good chance you’ve used something similar in the past, especially if two-factor authentication is enabled on any of your accounts (if it isn’t, it should be; if it isn’t, it should be). If going passwordless appeals to you, then you’ll soon be able to link your Microsoft account by providing your phone number instead of conjuring up a muddled password.

Microsoft will send you a code via text message when you first attempt to sign in to Windows 10 after providing your phone number. By the sounds of it, this should be a straightforward and secure way of merging your Microsoft account with your Windows product.

However, you must not stop there. After you’ve created your account, you’re strongly encouraged to use a different authentication method. Not only are fingerprint sensors and/or IR cameras (for facial recognition) more secure than passwords, but they are also considerably more convenient.

Alternatively, a PIN can be set up. When the new account login feature is combined with an alternative form of authentication, Windows 10 can be used without a password.

Microsoft has made no secret of its dislike for passwords. In May of last year, the company drafted a strategy (opens in a new tab) to eliminate this antiquated sign-in method. The Microsoft Security Team stated in its report that passwords are “inconvenient, insecure, and expensive.”

Along with Windows Hello, Microsoft has taken some aggressive steps toward its goal. Late last year, it added support for FIDO2 physical security keys, so anyone with one of these keys could bypass their password and log in to their Microsoft online accounts. Using Microsoft’s Authenticator app, you can now log in to your Windows 10 computer using a recently released feature.

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