Do you find it inconvenient or boring to pick up your phone every time you need to use Google Authenticator? Fortunately, if you are using a Windows 10 PC, you can already bring 2-Step Verification functionality for your phone to your PC.
There are now apps and browser extensions that enable you to generate two-factor authentication (2FA) codes directly on your computer. This eliminates the need to have your phone with you at all times to be able to log into web accounts that support two-factor authentication (2FA).
In this guide, we will cover how to use Google Authenticator on Windows 10.
Create the secret key for a Google account
To use Google Authenticator on your Windows 10 PC, you will need the secret key of your Google account. You can get this key by logging in and going to the Security section of your Google Account.
Here we show you how to do it step by step:
- Open a new tab in your browser and head to the My Google Account page. Log in to your account if you haven’t already.
- Click Safety on the left.
- Find the 2-Step Verification option on the right and click on it.
- Google may ask you to re-enter your account password. Do that and keep going.
- On the next screen, if you have already set up the Authenticator app, tap on the option change phone. Otherwise, click Preparation.
- Select Android on the next screen and click Next. You pretend as if you are configuring the secret code on your Android device.
- You will see a QR code on your screen. Click on the option labeled Can’t Scan It Below the QR code to display your secret key.
- You should now see a secret key for your Google account. Make a note of this key as you will need it while configuring the Authenticator app on your computer.
- Keep this tab open in your browser.
Make sure not to share your secret key with anyone, because the key allows anyone to generate 2FA codes for your account.
Furthermore, in the following tutorials, keep the My Account page open. You will need it again shortly.
Use Google Authenticator on Windows 10
Now that you have your secret key, you need to get an app that can use that key and help you generate 2-Step Verification codes on your Windows 10 PC. There are actually quite a few apps that let you generate 2FA codes, and we We cover some of these options here.
Use WinAuth to Generate 2FA Codes on Windows 10
WinAuth is a free, portable and open source application that allows you to use Google Authenticator on your Windows PC. Once you add your key, you can use this app to generate 2-Step Verification codes to sign in to your Google account.
You can configure this application with your secret key as follows:
- Download the WinAuth ZIP file and extract it to your computer.
- Double-click on the executable file to run the WinAuth application.
- In the main interface, tap addition To add a new account.
- From the available options, tap Google While adding a Google account.
- Enter a name that will help you identify this account in the Name field, then choose a symbol of your choice.
- Type or paste the secret key into the given field. This is the secret key I wrote down earlier from the My Google Account page.
- Once you have entered the key, click the button “Authentication Verification’, and you will see a six-digit code in the app.
- Return to the My Google Account page that you left open in your browser. click button the following on that page.
- Google will now ask you to enter the code generated by the Authenticator app. Enter the six-digit code here that you got from WinAuth, then click Verification.
- Your page should display a success message if all goes well.
- Go back to WinAuth and click OK.
- WinAuth will ask to protect your authentication with a password. Enter a password of your choice in both the Password and Verification fields, then tap OK At the bottom.
WinAuth should now be able to provide you with 2FA tokens every time you need any of them.
Use Authenticator to generate 2FA codes on Windows 10
If you prefer to use a browser extension, Authenticator (free) is a good option. It is an extension for Chrome that allows you to generate 2FA codes for your accounts without leaving the browser.
Like WinAuth, all you have to do is configure this extension with your secret key, and you’re ready to start generating 2-Step Verification codes.
Here’s how to use the extension on your PC:
- Open Google Chrome on your computer.
- Head to the Authenticator page in the Chrome Web Store, and click the button Add to Chrome.
- Click Install the extension in the claim.
- Once the extension is installed, click on the Authenticator icon in the top bar.
- Click on the pen icon and then press add (+).
- Select an option Manual entry Because you will enter the secret key manually.
- Type Google in the issuer field and enter your secret key in the secret field.
- Expand the advanced options and enter your Google Account username in the Username field.
- Locate Time Based From the Type dropdown menu, click OK.
- To generate a 2FA code, simply click on the Authenticator icon in your browser, and a code will be displayed for you to use.
How to remove Google Authenticator from Windows 10
Google only allows you to use one Authenticator app at a time. Therefore, before removing Google Authenticator from your computer, you need to set up this feature on your other device.
If you don’t, you won’t be able to generate 2FA codes to sign in to your Google account, and you’ll basically be blocked from getting into your own account (see How to Recover a Google Account).
Configure the feature on your other device, after which you can uninstall the Google Authenticator apps you installed on your computer.
Create Google Authenticator Codes on Windows 10
If you frequently need 2FA codes for your online accounts, it’s a good idea to set up Google Authenticator on your computer. This will eliminate the hassle of accessing your phone every time you need the code.
It’s easy to use Google Authenticator on both desktop and smartphone devices. If you ever change your phones, you can quickly transfer your Authenticator settings to the new phone. Check how to transfer or transfer Google Authenticator codes to a new phone.