Regularly changing the password on your Windows 11 computer is a good security habit to get into. However, while most people know it’s something that they should do, it’s not something most people will do until they have to. Thankfully, Microsoft makes it easy for you to set up your Microsoft account that you use to log into Windows 11 to turn on a password expiration feature that will force you to change your Microsoft account password every 72 days. And if you don’t like being forced to change your Windows 11 password every 72 days, the feature is just as easy to turn off.
Some of the images associated with the steps are included inline below. All images associated with these steps can be seen in the embedded YouTube video. Also, please note that you’re not able to leave a comment directly on this article. If you have a question or feedback, please leave it on the YouTube video.
Steps to Turn Windows 11 Password Expiration On or Off
- Open a web browser, navigate to the Microsoft Security site, and then sign in to the Microsoft account that you use to sign in to your Windows 11 computer where you want to either turn the Windows 11 password expiration on or off. You’ll land on your Microsoft account security page.
- Find the Password Security section, and then click “Change My Password.” You’ll land on the Change My Password screen.
- Enter your current Microsoft account password in the Current Password field, and then enter what you want to be your new Microsoft account password in the New Password and Re-enter Password fields.
- If you want Microsoft to force you to change your Microsoft account password every 72 days, click to place a check mark next to “Make me change my password every 72 days.” Alternatively, remove the check mark from this field if you don’t want Microsoft to force you to change your account password. Click “Save” after making your selections. You’ll be routed back to Microsoft account security screen. Your changes will be effective immediately.
Reasons to Turn On Windows 11 Password Expiration
1. Enhanced Security
Password expiration boosts security by prompting users to change their credentials regularly. This practice helps protect sensitive data by reducing the chances of unauthorized access. When users create new passwords, they render old or compromised ones useless. By enforcing password expiration, administrators ensure that outdated passwords cannot be exploited by malicious actors. This proactive measure provides an additional layer of security for both individual users and entire organizations.
2. Compliance with Security Policies
Many organizations implement strict security policies that mandate regular password changes. By turning on password expiration in Windows 11, administrators ensure adherence to these policies. This practice demonstrates a commitment to robust cybersecurity, protecting both the organization’s data and its reputation. Regular password updates can help prevent costly data breaches and keep organizations in compliance with industry-specific regulations, such as HIPAA, GDPR, or PCI DSS.
3. Protection Against Potential Threats
In the event of a suspected security breach or a known vulnerability, password expiration can serve as a valuable protective measure. By requiring users to change their passwords, administrators can minimize the risk of compromised credentials being used for unauthorized access. This proactive response to potential threats helps safeguard sensitive data and reduces the overall impact of security incidents.
4. Encouraging Strong Passwords
Enabling password expiration on Windows 11 encourages users to create strong, unique passwords. Frequent password changes make it more difficult for users to rely on weak, easily guessed credentials. This practice promotes the adoption of complex, hard-to-crack passwords, making it more challenging for attackers to gain unauthorized access. As a result, users become more security-conscious, contributing to a safer digital environment.
5. Minimizing Damage from Leaked Passwords
If a password leak occurs, password expiration limits the time frame during which a compromised password remains valid. This reduces the potential damage from leaked credentials and helps to contain security breaches. The practice of changing passwords regularly can provide a crucial buffer, allowing administrators to address vulnerabilities and further secure their systems before unauthorized access takes place.
6. Auditing and Monitoring
When users change their passwords regularly, administrators can more effectively track user activity and monitor for suspicious behavior. Frequent password updates allow for better visibility into user access patterns, making it easier to identify unusual activity or signs of compromise. This enhanced monitoring capability enables administrators to detect potential security issues early and take swift action to mitigate risks.
7. Employee Turnover
In organizations with high employee turnover, password expiration helps maintain security by ensuring that former employees’ credentials expire over time. This practice prevents unauthorized access by individuals who no longer have a legitimate need for system access. As a result, organizations can better protect their sensitive data and maintain a secure environment, even as personnel changes occur.
Reasons to Turn Off Windows 11 Password Expiration
1. User Convenience
Disabling password expiration on your Windows 11 computer prioritizes user convenience, as remembering new credentials frequently can be challenging. By allowing users to retain their passwords, the likelihood of forgetting and getting locked out of accounts decreases. This practice promotes seamless system access and helps users avoid time-consuming password recovery processes. Focusing on user convenience can result in improved productivity and a more satisfying user experience.
2. Reduced Reliance on Insecure Password Habits
Turning off password expiration can discourage insecure password habits. Users often resort to writing down passwords, using simple patterns, or reusing credentials across multiple accounts when faced with frequent changes. Eliminating the need for regular password updates encourages users to focus on creating strong, unique passwords that they can remember without resorting to unsafe practices. In turn, this contributes to better overall security.
3. Lower Helpdesk Workload
Disabling password expiration on Windows 11 reduces the number of helpdesk requests related to forgotten or locked-out passwords. This alleviates the burden on IT support staff, enabling them to concentrate on more critical tasks. By minimizing the need for password-related assistance, organizations can streamline their IT support processes and optimize resource allocation.
4. Shift Towards Modern Authentication Methods
Disabling password expiration can encourage the adoption of advanced security measures, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA). These methods offer superior protection compared to relying solely on passwords. By removing the focus from password expiration, organizations can prioritize the implementation of more robust authentication solutions that provide enhanced security against unauthorized access.
5. Reduced User Frustration
Frequent password changes can lead to user frustration, particularly when complex password policies are in place. Disabling password expiration helps improve user satisfaction by removing the need to remember new passwords regularly. As a result, users can focus on their work without the distraction of managing constantly changing credentials. This practice contributes to better productivity and a more positive user experience.
6. Limited Security Benefits
Research suggests that frequent password changes may not offer significant security advantages, especially if users adopt poor password practices. Disabling password expiration can be more effective when combined with other security measures, such as MFA and strong password policies. By prioritizing these methods, organizations can achieve enhanced security without relying on the potentially limited benefits of password expiration.
7. Streamlining Administration
Turning off password expiration simplifies administration tasks by reducing the need to manage password change notifications, track password history, and enforce password complexity requirements. This allows IT administrators to focus on more pressing security concerns, resulting in a more efficient and effective management process. By streamlining administration, organizations can optimize their IT resources and maintain a secure environment without the added complexity of managing password expiration.