How to Log Into Windows Without a Password
Microsoft recently added passwordless sign-in to Microsoft accounts for consumer-level Windows users, including anyone using Windows 10 Home edition, and soon Windows 11 Home Edition. Prior to this change, password-less sign-in was exclusive to enterprise-level Windows users, but now all users can do so in their Microsoft account settings.
By enabling this option, users can use their Microsoft account without a password. Instead, you’ll sign in to your account – and some Windows apps, services, and features that require it – using an alternative authentication method such as the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, or text / 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 do this? Well, other than convenience, it’s supposedly safer. Removing your account password to make it more secure may seem counterintuitive, but as Microsoft itself points out, passwords are not a secure method of security.
Companies and applications often store password data inappropriately, leading to leaks or data leaks . But even if passwords are stored securely on the server side, there are many ways a hacker can guess passwords to hack into someone’s account, such as entering 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, there is no perfect authentication method. Common alternatives like biometrics (fingerprint scanning, face unlocking, etc.) and text verification have their own vulnerabilities , especially if you use them as your only login method. However, these verification methods are more secure than passwords, especially if you are using multi-factor login.
How to enable password-less sign-in for your Microsoft accounts
- Sign in to your Microsoft account page .
- Go to Settings> Security.
- Select Advanced Security Options.
- Enter your password when prompted.
- Go to the Additional Security page, then scroll down to Additional Security. Click “Enable” under the “Account without password” option. This requires the Microsoft Authenticator app for your smartphone.
- Follow the instructions on the screen of your PC and mobile device to complete the setup.
- We also recommend enabling Two-Step Verification in the Advanced Security menu after enabling passwordless login, if you haven’t already.
You will now be signed in to your Microsoft account without a password. Please note that some older Microsoft products and Windows features still require a password, for example:
- IMAP and POP mail services
- Office 2010 or earlier
- Office for Mac 2011 or earlier
- Remote desktop
- Windows Credential 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 to be committed to a password-free ecosystem, so future third-party products should support this feature.
Passwordless logins will also work in tandem with the higher hardware-level security standards Microsoft is introducing in Windows 11 , as well as other security features such as OneDrive ransomware protection. These security improvements can help mitigate common cybersecurity vulnerabilities, such as weak user passwords or lack of protection against malware or ransomware.
[ ZDNet ]