How-To Geek

How “Trusted Devices” Work on Windows 10 (and Why You No Longer Need to “Trust This PC”)

Windows 8 asked you to “Trust This PC” after you signed in with a Microsoft account. This message is gone in Windows 10, replaced with a new “Trusted Devices” system that works differently.

How “Trust This PC” Worked on Windows 8

On Windows 8, you’d see a message asking you to “Trust this PC” after you logged in with your Microsoft account.


This was a Microsoft account security feature. Only trusted PCs were allowed to synchronize sensitive data such as your saved passwords. Until you trusted a PC, your saved passwords for apps, websites, and networks wouldn’t synchronize to it. To actually trust a PC, you had to authenticate with a text message, phone call, or email sent to a phone number or email address associated to your Microsoft account.

In this way, the “Trust This PC” method was sort of a second layer of authentication. Microsoft allowed you to sign in with just your user account’s password, but you needed to authenticate with a second credential if you wanted full access to your Microsoft account.


A trusted PC could also be used to reset your Microsoft account password if you ever lost it. You wouldn’t need an alternative email address or a phone number. You could just sit down at a trusted computer and ask Microsoft to reset your password. This feature required the Internet Explorer web browser.

That’s why it was important to only trust private PCs you controlled, not public PCs. Even PCs you shared with other people shouldn’t necessarily have been trusted, as those other people could potentially use the trusted PC to reset your account password.

You could view a full list of trusted PCs on the Security Info page on the Microsoft account management website, removing any individual PCs you no longer trusted. You’d have to enter a name for each PC you trusted, and that name would appear in the list.

In Windows 10, however, all this changed. Microsoft has moved from a “Trusted PC” system that required Windows and Internet Explorer to a “Trusted Devices” system that doesn’t require any particular operating system or web browser.

How “Trusted Devices” Work on Windows 10 (and Other Devices)

Microsoft threw most of the Windows 8 “Trust This PC” design out in Windows 10. You won’t see the words “Trust this PC” or “Trusted PC” on Windows 10. This wording has even been removed from the Microsoft Account website.

When you sign into Windows 10, won’t be asked if you want to “Trust This PC”. Instead, if you’ve set up two-step verification for your Microsoft account, you’ll be asked to authenticate with a code provided to you via an app, text message, or email.

If you can’t authenticate using a secondary authentication method, it just doesn’t let you sign into your account at all. If you can sign in, all your passwords and other data will synchronize normally. You don’t have to “trust” the PC after you sign in to access all your data.

But it doesn’t end there. Even signing in with a Microsoft account and secondary authentication method doesn’t make a PC a “trusted device”.

Certain pieces of data associated with your Microsoft account–like your credit card number or account security settings–are marked extra sensitive. When you attempt to access or edit these details, you’ll be prompted for additional authentication.

For example, if you try to access the Microsoft Account security page, you’ll be asked to authenticate using a two-step verification app or by using a code sent to the phone number or secondary email address associated with your account. This doesn’t just apply to Windows 10. You’ll be asked to authenticate in the same way when accessing this page from a Mac, an iPhone, an Android tablet, or a Chromebook, for example.

You’ll see an “I sign in frequently on this device. Don’t ask me for a code.” checkbox when signing into a secure site like this one. If you enable this checkbox and sign in, Microsoft will make your current device as a trusted device. It doesn’t even have to be a PC–it could be a Mac, a tablet, or a phone.

When you mark a device as a trusted device by checking this box, it simply means that you won’t have to enter one of these codes the next time you access sensitive information–like your credit card number or account security settings–on that device. You should still only trust devices that you sign in on frequently and not check this box if you’re using someone else’s PC.

Head to the Microsoft Account security page, scroll down, and you’ll see a “Trusted devices” section. This section no longer lists the devices you’ve trusted, so there’s no way to tell how many devices you’ve trusted and remove them individually. According to Microsoft, there’s no limit to the number of devices you can trust at once.

Instead, if you’d like to remove one or more trusted devices, you have to click the “Remove all trusted devices associated with my account” link. Microsoft recommends you do this if you’ve lost access to one of your trusted devices–maybe you’ve sold or given away a PC, for example.

After you do this, you’ll have to enter a security code and click the checkbox on any formerly trusted PCs the next time you attempt to access sensitive information.

There’s no longer any way to use a “trusted device” to reset your Microsoft account password, as you could when Windows 8 was released.

Access the Microsoft Account Password Reset page and you’ll be prompted to use typical authentication methods like your email address, phone number, or authenticator app to confirm you’re the person who owns the account. You can freely “trust” devices without worrying they’ll be used to reset your password later.

You can manage which authentication methods are offered when verifying your identity from the Microsoft Account security page.

Any device you can sign into a Microsoft account from can access the same security features, and there’s no confusing “Trust This PC” prompt when signing into Windows 10 with your Microsoft account.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 08/17/12

Comments (30)

  1. max

    Just another part of the mystery meat, guess-what-this-function-does interface of Windows 8. How many people had to Google how to shut down?

  2. Citrus Rain

    So basically it’s just like google chrome sync.

    I read the HTG article on how to shut down before I ever touched Windows 8.

    Then had to pull it up again because I couldn’t find the button to show someone when explaining the power button is hibernate.

  3. Asgaro

    It will be madness in a few months, when Win 8 starts to arrive on retail computers. Win Vista received a lot of hate, and most of that hate emerged from the more experienced crown … so it was fairly limited.

    I cant imagine how it will be now because now the normal unexperienced users will also be complaining.

    I’m staying on Windows 7 64 bits SP1. Don’t see whats wrong with it and I did a reinstall (bought an SSD) only few months ago.

  4. Tom

    Win 8 = End of Microsoft

  5. Paul

    We can only hope!

  6. Paul Ward

    Give M$ a wide berth – I switched to Linux two years back and I’ve never looked back, I do everything I used to do on W7/XP and usually better and much quicker.

    I live in hope someday people will wake up to alternatives. This new Secure Boot is just M$ running scared and trying to shut the door on competition.

    I agree with Tom Win 8 – End of Microsoft.

  7. Darion

    An OS widely used as windows should have the ability to recognize the hardware it is being installed on and provide the appropriate UI for that hardware.

  8. Kei

    Is it possible to “un-trust” the computer? … ex: in the event one wanted to sell the thing, but leave the OS intact. ???

  9. john3347

    So does this say that the common home user wants to trust or not trust his computer? I certainly do not trust the OS publisher.

  10. Patrick Crosby

    Never trust an operating system that forces you try to pretend you are using a cell phone when in fact you are using a multi core normal (Intel or AMD) computer. The developer preview (now expired) allowed you to bypass this absurdity with a bout 15 minutes effort (and even that was too much, but I was willing to live with it). The latest release does not. Windows 7? It would be fine if they didn’t try to rip me off an extra $100 or whatever so that I could run old legacy software (which by the way, ran on the developer preview of Win 8. This included one Win 3.11 application). My plan therefore is to stick with XP until the support ends and then switch to either Linux or PCBSD and run XP as a virtual machine for my legacy software. Unless they decide to stop being jerks, Microsoft won’t get another penny from me.

  11. Fantasm

    Great plan, you lose your computer, or someone steals it, they have access all your accounts and info…
    I don’t even want my computer to know anything about my online persona..

  12. Anono

    @Paul Ward

    I certainly admire you for “making the switch.” Once people are forced to change (again), I’m sure there will be a few of them asking if there isn’t something else. Hopefully, Linux and companies like Canonical (Ubuntu) will be ready for them. However, I doubt it. I’m not sure any of the Linux providers (distros) will have their act together enough since nearly every distro offers just a little too much choice – which the average Joe doesn’t want to deal with. And “change”? Don’t even get me started! Just look at the fiasco Ubuntu went through with a primarily geek crowd when they switched from GNOME to Unity even though you can have both.

    So there are reasons some of us will continue to be stuck with Microsoft. And stuck for some time to come. So any help in dealing with Windows is much appreciated.

    In any case, kudos for jumping out of the Windows conga line. I’m sure I’ll be joining you in the near future (ready or not) once Windows 8 is in full bloom – er, “failure.” But you can bet I’ll also have a Windows 8 box (virtual/dual-boot/whatever) too.

  13. Coops Mgoops

    @Everybody: I know i will get more hate replies than i can even read, but let me just ask all of you: Why is Windows 8 so bad? Have you really experienced any horrible things with Win8 or is it just that you yourselves hate change and are unwilling to even try to figure it out? Ive been using Windows 8 since last January and i have been perfectly happy with it! It does everything windows 7 does (please tell me if there is anything that i dont know about) and i find that it can do many things faster. For instance to search your computer in windows 7 what do you do? Click the start button (or windows key) and start typing. Right? Well in windows 8 all you have to do is go down to the bottom left corner and click (you can be as sloppy or fast as you want because you dont have to locate a button, the whole corner becomes the button) or, again, click the windows key and then start typing. And with Windows 8 the search results are quicker, more thorough, and you have the whole screen to view them in. You can also search within apps. Can you do that in Windows 7?

    Please dont get me wrong! I have nothing against Windows 7 or Linux for that matter. I have installed Ubuntu and Ubuntu Studio on my computer before and loved it! The only reason i am not currently using it is because the tripple boot didnt work out as well as i wanted it to (I have a macbook pro so i had Lion, Ubuntu, and Win8 all on their own partition) and also it wasnt as functional for me as Lion was.

    All im trying to say is that Windows 8 is really not a bad operating system in my opinion and I would like to know all you Windows 8 haters have any legitimate reasons why you think Windows 8 is so horrid.

    Sorry for breaking up the flow of Windows 8 trash talk! :)

    ~Coops Mgoops

  14. AgentFenix

    Such a BS feature. Not because it has no use, but because in practice it DOESN’T WORK.

    I tried to get this version of Win 8 (rtm) to be a trusted PC today. The page bitches that “To access this content, please sign in on a computer that’s connected to your account” and it gives me a list. Thing is, all those PC’s listed, are THE SAME ONE as in, its the exact same pc, just had different versions of windows 8 on it at some point. It’s just as I have been going through developer preview, release preview and now rtm. What are my other options? I can add a second email and a phone number, which I did. I chose the option of “I don’t have access to these PC’s” and it tells me to delete the data for them, fair enough. Then it takes me to the next page.

    “This info will automatically be added to your account on 9/12/2012”.
    And gives me my email account and phone number. Wait, what? You want me to wait nearly a month before I can trust this PC? Are you insane?

    Please, tell me, if there is a way I have missed to trust this PC. Because if not, gone are the days you can re-format your PC at will.

  15. r

    …well, my reason for hating Windows 8 has lots to do with Microsoft’s need to push a new OS on everyone, not when they have something incredibly wonderful to offer users, but whenever they just feel like counting more of our money.

  16. X

    I agree with @Coops Mgoops, what indeed is so bad about W8?

  17. Fantasm

    My biggest reasons for hating windows 8 are:
    [1] – Metro is UGLY
    [2] – I have a 40″ screen… 2 graphics cards and 2 smaller screens and a HDTV hooked up… Metro looks really bad on large screens and multi-monitor doesn’t work as advertised on win 8. Hot spots disappear and you have to reboot to get them back…
    [3] – I don’t Xbox, I rarely Facebook, and I don’t want my PC to be linked to anything I do online…
    [4] – I will never buy an APP at the App store… I don’t even like the metro apps I’ve tried, they seem like cheap shiny toys compared to the software I already use…Pretty but useless for much…
    [5] – After installing other programs, My Start screen had 7 tiles marked “uninstall” – No idea what they were linked to…some programs have multiple applications in their folder… They all got a tile, but they don’t need one… Even worse, some installed programs simply never appeared at all….And now it loads just about the same time Windows 7 does on my SSD
    [6] – I see nothing WORTH upgrading from windows 7 to 8 for…
    [7] – I am never going to get a touchscreen…
    [8] – I have an Android Tablet, an Android phone, and I only use them for “light” stuff, anything serious, I use my computer for… and I don’t want the same interface on all my toys… I deliberately keep my Androids different too…
    [9] – See #1 again. Given the choice, I want a huge desktop pic, in millions of colours, high resolution etc… Not some limited colour graphic that looks like a toddler designed it.
    [10]- I LIKE the look of Aero . My computer has tons of power, I don’t have to worry about storage space, (9 terrabytes), CPU cycles, RAM or power usage…. I could give a rat’s ass if they want to get rid of Aero to conserve power, let that be an option not a forced choice…
    [11]-The Start button… I use it daily. ‘Nuff said…. and NO, I don’t want to type in key press combos to get to things…. I use my mouse… that’s what the damned thing is there for….
    [12]-Dragging my mouse on a 40″ screen is ridiculous… top to bottom, 20 plus inches to close an App…? side scrolling through the Start page endlessly looking for Apps? Maybe on a tiny screen… Oh, and why doesn’t metro open up on ALL the monitors so you could just jump to it instead of side scrolling the mouse, (invariably going “off” screen)
    Look, I’m sure that it will appeal to many… Good for them…
    To me, I see NO reason to get windows 8, and too many reason to NOT get it…

  18. Paul in San Francisco

    What is a “Microsoft account”? As a long-time PC user (but still a novice in things I don’t do every month), I do not recall ever having had a “Microsoft account.”

  19. vgamesx1

    @Coops Mgoops
    “Have you really experienced any horrible things with Win8” umm… well
    1. the UI is very ugly and I think a first grader could make something nicer.
    2. an APP store? Really? if you want APPS get a freaking iPhone (or Android)… this is supposed to be mostly a desktop OS not some play thing. (not saying that all phones and such are toys but not quite for work yet either)
    3. well lack of support isn’t a bad thing? it didn’t support a few of my devices and some programs like chrome wouldn’t work either.
    4. if nothing else the coding for it is one of the worst of all and honestly I feel sorry for whoever has to make APPs or Programs for this OS. (chrome devs R.I.P)
    5. its also really bad if you have to have a tutorial to show you how to do such simple tasks such as Turning Off your Computer! (the tutorial HTG did just a month or two ago…)
    6. ohh, not to mention the Ribbon UI on every window you open using windows explorer.
    7. NO start button? What The F*** (I only use it like every day no big deal…..)
    8. its now harder to find simple control panel items and other things such as my computer
    9. no more aero? well thats ok for laptops and such but I love it on my desktop…
    10. other than having somewhat of a desktop and drivers for printers and such this is basically a mobile OS such as iOS or Android and should be seen as one, even if it does have DirectX I highly doubt a tablet or any such mobile device could play games like what a desktop or even a laptop could.

    so right there are 10 things I can easily point out about it.

  20. vgamesx1

    also yes I have tried very hard to like windows 8, but I just cannot.
    I have tried every version of it the alpha, beta, and RC. (I just prefer these terms rather than there newer ones)
    I’ve also spent at least an hour or two on all of them, couldn’t take any longer than that.

  21. Taylor Gibb

    From a fellow HTG author all i can say is, haters gonna hate :) Of course im a fan boy, but i do use Linux as well, and granted there are some things Linux does 100 times better than Windows, but Windows also does some stuff 100x better than Linux. They both have their place, and as with everything Microsoft ships (OS wise) its going to only get better from here, for example the difference between Windows Vista and Windows 7.

  22. john3347

    If there were no other reason, the ribbon is plenty of reason to hate Windows 8.

  23. Naman

    @ All the people counting reasons not to buy Windows 8:
    1) Metro is not THAT ugly. Even though I agree, even being an 11-year-old, I could draw it with just a pencil. But simple is good, at least for me.
    2) If you think Windows Store is useless, don’t use it. Simple as that!
    3) If Windows 8 boots good as Windows 7 on a full-blown desktop, try it on an Intel Atom netbook. (I have it!) For me, it says 1 minute for Win8RP, and 1 minute 25 seconds for Windows 7 HP SP1.
    4) If you don’t like W8, stay with W7. MS is supporting it till 2020.

  24. vic32


    That was the lamest attempt at pointing out reasons in support of Win8 that I’ve ever read.

  25. Atakan

    windows 8 will be useless unless you have some kind of a touchscreen device, preferablly something like a tablet.

  26. Naman

    Just use Classic Shell then. It’s a shell addon for W7 and W8 users which gives you Start Menu (even the good old W2000 one), lets you boot directly to desktop in W8, and you can still enjoy the performance increase in W8.

  27. roveit

    My business is supporting computer users predominantly using windows and I see lots of future work getting clients able to use Windows 8. Hopefully with a user interface form follows function but this is not the case with Windows 8. Simple form alright but function hidden or confusing. The new is a current expression of the philosophy for everyone to see. I like the look alright but what happened to Contacts (People) and Calendar? After an online search the answer is click on Outlook at top left and you get the opportunity to select a down arrow with People, Calendar etc. So they stole the idea from Gmail which hides Contacts under Gmail (dumb) at top left and took it further by hiding more under the title (dumber). Heck at least Gmail leaves a clue with the down arrow not hidden. Another Vista in the making?

  28. salada

    I’ve been a Windows user since the 3.1 days and an engineer for 14 years, and whilst I do agree with some of the comments, overall I think Windows 8 will be a success. The new interface is well ‘new’ and it is a big change. But this is just version 1.0 of the ‘Windows 8 UI’. Over time Microsoft will respond to what the community wants, and the UI will develop into something that is more useful that what it in it’s current stage. It’s called evolution. One thing is for sure, if Microsoft didnt force Metro on us, no one would use it, and it would never improve. I for one (and Im probably going to get flamed for this) believe that the world needs a new UI. And as usual the public will be (forced) beta testers. But this seems to be more like norm these days (sigh) but MS aren’t the only ones guilty of doing it. Personally I’m going to embrace it, and provide feeback on how it can be improved. And for a $14.99 upgrade fee I could care less.

  29. r

    never trust anyone or anything that asks you to thrust them

  30. rangerevo8

    Try Windows 8 RTM, it is better than RC but still not as good as it should be.

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