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Microsoft Is One Step Closer to Killing the Password For Good

Microsoft is continuing its quest to build "a world without passwords" by bringing a new 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 set up your Microsoft account on any Windows 10 device, is available now to Insiders using Windows 10 Home (Build 18309).

Chances are you've used something like this in the past, especially if two-factor authentication is enabled on any of your accounts (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.

After providing your number, Microsoft will text you a code that you'll input on a login screen when you first attempt to sign into Windows 10. By the sounds of it, this should be a straightforward and secure way of merging your Microsoft account to your Windows product.

But you shouldn't stop there. We strongly suggest you use another method of authentification after you've set up your account. Most new laptops have a fingerprint sensor and/or IR camera (for facial recognition), two methods that aren't just more secure than passwords but are also a lot more convenient.

Alternatively, you can set up a PIN. Combining the new account login feature and an alternative form of authentication means you can use Windows 10 without ever needing a password again.

Microsoft hasn't been coy about its hatred for passwords. In May of last year, the company wrote a battle plan for doing away with this aging sign-in method. In the brief, the Microsoft Security Team noted that passwords were "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 login to their Microsoft online accounts. Another recently released feature allows you to login to your Windows 10 PC using Microsoft's Authenticator app.

Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.