How to Trust a Windows 8.1 PC or Device Using Your Microsoft Account

Some of our readers have asked us how Windows 8.1 deals with trusted devices and how they can set their devices as trusted. Things have changed in this regard since Windows 8 was launched and that's why we have decided to give you a hand. In this article you will learn how to mark your Windows 8.1 devices as trusted, how to set your devices as untrusted and what happens when you do that. Also, you will learn what to do in case one of your Windows 8.1 devices gets lost or stolen so that others don't have an easy time accessing that device.

Windows 8.1 Has a Different Way of Trusting Devices

In the past, in Windows 8, if you wanted to fully use your computers and devices and all the features that it had to offer, you would have had to manually mark your devices as trusted. This article describes all the steps involved: Introducing Windows 8: How to Trust a PC Using Your Microsoft Account.

Windows 8.1 does things differently and some things are simpler now. Let's see what's different:

How Do I Trust My PC or Device in Windows 8.1?

When installing Windows 8.1 or when setting it up on your new device, you will be asked if you want to sign in with your Microsoft account. This has plenty of benefits, such as allowing you to download apps from the Windows Store as well as synchronizing your files and settings through OneDrive. You can find out more about that topic in this article: Should You Use a Local or a Microsoft Account?.

After entering your credentials, you may be asked to enter a security code, if you enabled two-step verification for your Microsoft account. More on that can be learned here: How to Set Up Two-Step Verification for Your Microsoft Account.

If that's the case for you, enter the code that you are requested. You can get this code using a special authentication app on your smartphone, via a email, a text message or a call on your phone.

If you enter the code correctly, your Microsoft account will be verified and your Windows 8.1 device will automatically be marked as trusted. You will be able to access all of the services that require a Microsoft account without entering any additional credentials. Also, you won't have to go through the hoops you had to in Windows 8, to validate that you want your device to be marked as trusted.

What If My Trusted Windows 8.1 Device Gets Lost or Stolen?

We all know that plenty of things can happen to our devices, especially portable ones. If your device gets lost or stolen, there is one way you could prevent thieves from freely using it.

Go to Microsoft account page and access the Security & password section, as shown in the picture below.

Now scroll down to Trusted devices and click or tap "Remove all the trusted devices associated with my account".

Click or tap “Remove all trusted devices" to confirm the action.

What Happens With Your Windows 8.1 Devices After They Are Set as Untrusted?

Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't provide you with any access to the list of trusted PCs and your only option is to remove the “trusted" state from all of your devices. This will impact both the devices that you are still using and those that were lost or stolen.

When they are set as untrusted, your Windows 8.1 devices will ask whoever is using them to enter your most recent Microsoft password in the Action Center. Click Open Action Center.

Then you will see the same message, with options on how to solve this problem.To mark your device as trusted, press the Sign in button.

This will open PC Settings, and you will have to enter your credentials again.

After entering your password, you may have go through the 2-step authentication procedure, if you have enabled this security feature. Enter the security code that's requested of you and press Submit.

If you enter the code correctly, your device will be marked as trusted and you can resume using it.

How to Make Sure That Those Who Stole Your Device Cannot Use It

As you can see from the sections above, Microsoft doesn't offer much in terms of tools for blocking unwanted access to your lost or stolen devices. That's why, in order to make things as hard as possible for anyone other than you to access them, we recommend the following:

  • Take any device with an Internet connection and enable two-factor authentication for your Microsoft account. This guide will teach you how to do this: How to Set Up Two-Step Verification for Your Microsoft Account.
  • Change the password for your Microsoft account.
  • Remove all trusted devices associated with your account, as shown earlier in this guide.

If the person who stole your device doesn't connect it to the Internet and also knows your password, PIN or picture password, then our advice will not help. That person will be able to use your Windows 8.1 device without problems.

However, if that person does connect the device to the Internet and tries to log in, following our advice will ensure that he or she cannot log in with your Microsoft account.

Conclusion

As you can see from this guide, Microsoft has changed the way you trust and untrust the Windows 8.1 devices you own. We think that it is better than the process that was used for Windows 8 but there are still some shortcomings to fix. We hope that you found our guide useful and, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask using the comments form below.