How to Use Google Authenticator on a Windows PC

Google Authenticator 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 your 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 onto 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 and 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 PC using WinAuth.

2. 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.

3. 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 your 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, see our methods for checking and managing the health of your hard drive in Windows. See also how to capture a scrolling screenshot in Windows 10.


Simon Batt Simon Batt

Simon Batt is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for cybersecurity.


  1. So, if I understand correctly, you have basically turned 2 FA back into 1 FA ? Seeing as all the means of getting into an account is back in one place (your windows PC)?

    1. J Van, not exactly. The main thing that 2 FA gives you is that an outside attacker in another location can’t just log in to a site, even if they have your password (through cracking it, stealing it, etc). It’s true this won’t protect you if the attacker has physical access to your machine, but that has a lot of its own issues anyway (maybe you’re still logged into the site, etc).

      It’s way more likely someone will try to get into your account without being at your machine, so having 2 FA itself is most important, especially if someone wouldn’t have used it if they needed to use their phone (I like keeping my phone upstairs to not get distracted, so sometimes I’ve been resistant to enabling MFA for that reason).

  2. How the h—- can I use the Google Authenticator if i DONT have a smart phone. I don’t have and don’t want one.

    1. Dear Arthur,
      You can install one of the android simulator softwares on your windows, then install google authenticator on the simulator.

  3. Hi Simon, many thanks for putting up all these clear instructions. Unfortunately by setting up Google Authenticator the barcode does not appear. I have I endless turning wheel – no barcode. Therefore I cannot obtain the secret key in this way. Have you some helpful advice? Best regards Walter
    Windows 10, 32-Bit pn a HP Phoenix PC.

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