How to Use Google Authenticator on a Windows PC

How To Use Google Authenticator On Windows Pc Featured

Google Authenticator can be useful, but it’s annoying that Google hasn’t made an official app for the desktop yet. However, you can use Google Authenticator on your Windows PC via other means. Let’s explore the ways you can use Google Authenticator on PC.

Exporting Google’s 2FA to Your PC

To do this, you’re going to need the “secret code” for Google Authenticator. This is the seed from which the code generators can make codes that work with Google.

To get the secret code, head to the Google Account security page. Go to the “Signing in to Google” section and click “2-Step Verification.”

Google Authenticator Code 2 Step

If Google knows you have a phone connected to your account, it will take you through the steps to set up a basic phone notification service.

After you have completed the steps, you’ll have the chance to set up the Authenticator app. While we’re not going to download the actual app, we do need to pretend we are getting the secret key. Click “Set up.”

Google Authenticator Code Setup

Go through the prompts until it asks you to scan a QR code. Under the code, click “Can’t scan it?”

Google Authenticator Code Scan

On the next page, look for the secret key and copy it. This is what you’ll enter into third-party apps when they ask for a key. However, be sure to keep it a secret. If someone else gets this information, they can use it to get into your account!

Now that we have the code, let’s see where we can put it.

1. WinAuth

If you’re worried about a third-party app stealing or leaking your code, try WinAuth. Its major draw is that it’s an open-source app that you download to your PC. As such, there’s no obfuscated code or cloud storage that can leak your key.

Setting up with WinAuth is very easy. Once WinAuth is running, add a new Google account.

Google Authenticator Winauth Category

Enter your private key, then click the “Verify Authenticator” button. Continue with your Google account setup and enter the code that WinAuth gives you.

Google Authenticator Winauth Enter

Copy the generated one-time password, paste it to your Google security settings page and click on the button “Verify and Save” to verify the generated code.

Copy the generated one-time password.

If everything is done correctly, Google will show you a confirmation window letting you know. Just click on the “OK” button to save the changes in your Google account.

Google will show you a confirmation.

Back to the WinAuth window: now that you’ve confirmed the generated code, click on the OK button to save the changes in the WinAuth application.

As soon as you click on the “OK” button, WinAuth will open the Protection window that allows you to set a password to encrypt the files saved by WinAuth. This ensures any unauthorized access will be blocked. Simply enter the password twice and click on the “OK” button to save the changes. Alternatively, you can also set WinAuth to encrypt files so that it can only be used on the current computer, but using the password protection is much more viable.

Set a password to encrypt the files saved.

Now you can use the Google Authenticator on your Windows PC using WinAuth.

2. WinOTP Authenticator

WinOTP Authenticator is actually exclusive to Windows 10, and you can download it directly from the Microsoft Store. Click the “+” button at the bottom to add a new service. While the app claims to be able to read QR codes, it didn’t work for me, but definitely give it a try to see if it works for you.

How To Use Google Authenticator On Windows Pc Winotp

Otherwise, all you have to do is enter the name of the service, your username, and your code. Then, you’re all set. For the service name and username, you can pick what you want, but make sure you’re able to tell different services apart.

3. Authy

If you want to sync your mobile and PC codes, try Authy. You can use it as a standalone on your PC, but it does ask you for your phone details during signup. If you have Authy on your phone, you can quickly sync your details between the two devices.

On the PC version of Authy, click the plus icon at the top right.

Google Authenticator Authy Add

Paste the secret key in the box.

Google Authenticator Authy Code

You can name and assign a color to the account. Once you’ve set it up, you’ll have a working Google code.

4. 2 Factor Authentication

2 Factor Authentication currently only supports Google, Microsoft, LastPass, and Facebook accounts, but it does work well as a Google authenticator on PC. Start by pressing the “+” icon at the bottom to add a new account.

How To Use Google Authenticator On Windows Pc 2 Factor

Enter a name for the account, such as Google, then enter your secret key. You can also use the camera icon to scan a QR code if available. This worked better than WinOTP Authenticator but not perfectly.

5. GAuth Authenticator

If you want something in your browser, you can try the GAuth Authenticator. You can install it as a Chrome extension or a web app.

Adding your authenticator to GAuth is easy. First, click on the pencil on the top right, then click Add.

Google Authenticator Gauth Add

Enter the name of the authentication code (in this case, Google) and the secret key.

Google Authenticator Gauth Details

Once done, you’ll have a functioning authenticator.

Now that you know how to use Google Authenticator on Windows PC, also check out the best authenticator apps for Linux desktop and the essential settings to secure your Google account.

If you want to tinker around more on Windows 10, you can check out some of the Easter eggs and secrets on Windows 10, or the things to do before and after installing Windows 10.

Crystal Crowder Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

One comment

  1. WinAuth reached its end of useful life and is no longer being maintained (not safe).

    Last stable WinAuth 3.5.1 (2016-06-07).

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