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MFA-Duo - Generating Backup Passcodes for Future Use

This document will guide you through the process of generating backup passcodes for future use should you be in a situation where you can't bring in your MFA device (such as a secured location or a classroom where you're taking a test and can't have any devices).

Note: You will need to be able to authenticate with Duo in order to reach the page to generate backup passcodes. If you currently cannot sign into Duo, try generating a temporary passcode (see MFA-Duo - Request a Temporary Passcode).

Generating Backup Passcodes for Future Use

  1. Navigate to the Multi-Factor Authentication Portal at Authenticate with your UW-Madison NetID and Password. You will also be asked to approve the login through your existing multi-factor authentication devices.
  2. Click the blue Create Backup Passcodes button.
  3. MFA portal section for generating backup passcodes

  4. Click the blue Print Backup Passcodes button.
  5. Green message indicating that the passcodes have been created, with a button labeled Print Backup Passcodes

  6. Click Print to print your passcodes or write them down if you do not have access to a printer
  7. Print dialogue with the backup passcodes displayed as a document

Handling Your Backup Codes

  • Backup codes should be stored in a secure but accessible location (such as a locked drawer or cabinet) while not in use.
  • Generating new backup codes will invalidate your previous backup codes.
  • Backup codes will expire after four months; The expiration date is displayed on the print-out below the passcodes.
  • Each code can only be used once so we recommend crossing them off as you use them.

See accessibility & usability information

We work with our users to address access and usability barriers in the MFA user experience. Learn details about known access barriers and workarounds at MFA-Duo - Accessibility & Usability Information. If you encounter a barrier or need assistance, please contact the DoIT Help Desk or call (608) 264-4357.

For questions regarding how to get access to the MFA mobile app contact the DoIT Help Desk at (608) 264-4357 or email

How to get access to a Security Key or Duo Token/Fob 


Students, to obtain a token/fob, please contact the DoIT Help Desk (608) 264-4357 or email Students with disabilities can also request a token or security key at the McBurney Disability Resource Center, 702 W. Johnson St., Suite #2104, Madison WI 53715 on the 2nd floor.

Faculty, Staff, and Researchers

Employees can get access to devices for MFA at their Human Resources Office or IT department. For questions contact the DoIT Help Desk at (608) 264-4357 or email 

Keywordsduo 2 factor authentication two auth control backup codes temporary passcode passcodes   Doc ID80795
OwnerMST SupportGroupIdentity and Access Management
Created2018-03-12 13:42:36Updated2022-05-17 13:20:45
SitesDoIT Help Desk, Identity and Access Management
Feedback  18   10