Use Google Authenticator with Microsoft’s live.com

Two-step authentication is the technology to use everywhere as much as possible, to prevent identity and data theft. Many online services, including Dropbox, LastPass, Facebook, are using Google’s Authenticator app. It generates random time-dependent one-time codes that should be entered in the process of the two-factor authentication.

Microsoft’s live.com service also supports the 2-step authentication. However, by default Microsoft wants you to use its own app to generate the one-time codes. It does not make much sense to use it, if you are using Google Authenticator (GA) for all other services. Luckily, Microsoft is smart enough to support GA as well, just in a little hidden, even though simple, manner. Here is how to set it up:

  1. “Add a new identity verification app”
  2. Choose “Android”, press “Next”
  3. (If you now choose “Install the app from the Google Play Store.”, you’ll be offered to install a Microsoft app.) DO NOT DO IT.
  4. At the bottom, there is a line: “Android device not compatible? Try this app instead.” It is a link to the Google Authenticator. Click it.
  5. On the next page, a QR-code for Google Authenticator is shown. Scan it with “Set up account” function in Google Authenticator, verify the code and you are good to go.
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