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Secure Your Windows Live Account on a Public PC with a Sign-in Code

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While most of us here prefer Google, Windows Live does have one great feature that Gmail doesn’t yet provide: a single-use security code that lets you login on a public computer without having your password stolen. Here’s how it works.

The security code actually works by hooking up your cell phone number into your account, and then signing in with a single-use security code sent to your phone as a text message—it only works once, so even if there’s a keylogger on the public computer it won’t matter.

Setup Your Account for Single-Use Codes

To get your account setup for using a single use code, you’ll need to head to this page, and then click on the “Windows Live Account overview” link—or you could head into your Windows Live Account overview screen if you can find it.

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At this point you’ll want to check the Password reset information section, and then click on the “Add” link next to Mobile Phone.

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Add in your mobile phone number and then click the Add button, which will send you an email verification.

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Once you’ve verified that your account change is correct, you can proceed to actually using the feature.

Using the Single-Use Code on a Public PC

To use this feature, anytime you head to the Windows Live login page for any Windows Live service, you’ll be able to click the “Get a single use code to sign in with” link—if you don’t see this and instead see your username, click to login as another user first.

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Then you’ll need to click the “Get one here” link next to “Don’t have a code?”.

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Enter in your email address and phone number, and click the “Send text message” button.

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Check your phone, because you should get a code very shortly after this.

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And now you can use the code to login.

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And there you are—now nobody can steal your password on a public PC, because the code will expire immediately after using it.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/15/10

Comments (7)

  1. Sam

    I know this has been around for a while but facebook have started doing this aswel, its a good idea but… and its quite a big but, say someone manages to get onto your account, facebook or hotmail and changes your phone number to theres without you noticing, then all they need to do is get facebook to text them and they have your one use password……

  2. xanhellx

    -Sam is totally right..

  3. Lelouch

    @Sam Your hypothesis does not make sense. If they can get into your account, they already know your password. There is no point in changing the phone number. And it’s called “one use password” because it’s “ONE USE”. Means it changes right after you’ve used that once.

  4. Di

    oh, portugal is not listed :(

  5. Sam

    But….. say you have mates round and you leave your facebook/msn signed in, that then gives them access to whats better known as the facebook rape…..

    this isnt just my idea of trying to find a hole in the system, its a good idea but i am passing on the idea i saw about the same article :)

  6. rome.

    how do i verfiy my accout when i cant enter it

  7. Lori

    i just received one text like that but i didnt ask 4 it.. can you explain? i didnt even know that that thing existed..

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