Authenticate access with personal access tokens

Azure DevOps Services | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017

Personal access tokens (PATs) are alternate passwords that you can use to authenticate into Azure DevOps. In this article, learn how to create or revoke PATs.

If you're working on a larger application or project, we recommend you review our authentication guidance to help you choose the correct authentication mechanism. For smaller projects that require a less robust solution, personal access tokens are a simple alternative. Be aware that unless your users are using a credential manager, they'll have to enter their credentials each time.

Azure DevOps uses enterprise-grade authentication to help protect and secure your data. Clients like Visual Studio and Eclipse (with the Team Explorer Everywhere plug-in) also support Microsoft account and Azure AD authentication. Since PATs are an alternate form of user authentication, using a PAT gives you the same access level. If you create a PAT with a narrower scope, your access is limited to that scope.

For non-Microsoft tools that integrate into Azure DevOps but don't support Microsoft account or Azure AD authentication, you must use PATs. Examples include Git, NuGet, or Xcode. To set up PATs for non-Microsoft tools, use Git credential managers or create them manually.

Create personal access tokens to authenticate access

  1. Sign in to your organization in Azure DevOps (https://dev.azure.com/{yourorganization})

  2. From your home page, open your profile. Go to your security details.

    My profile Team Services

  3. Select + New Token.

    Select New Token to create

  4. Name your token, select the organization where you want to use the token, and then choose a lifespan for your token.

    Enter basic token information

  5. Select the scopes for this token to authorize for your specific tasks.

    For example, to create a token to enable a build and release agent to authenticate to Azure DevOps Services, limit your token's scope to Agent Pools (Read & manage), and then select Create.

    Select scopes for your PAT

  6. When you're done, make sure to copy the token. You'll use this token as your password.

    Copy the token to your clipboard

  1. Sign in to your Team Foundation Server web portal (https://{server}:8080/tfs/).

  2. From your home page, open your profile. Go to your security details.

    TFS home page, open your profile, go to Security

  3. Create a personal access token.

    Add a personal access token

  4. Name your token. Select a lifespan for your token.

    If you're using Azure DevOps Services, and you have more than one organization, you can also select the organization where you want to use the token.

    Name your token, select a lifespan. If using Azure DevOps Services, select an account for your token
  5. Select the scopes for this token to authorize for your specific tasks.

    For example, to create a token to enable a build and release agent to authenticate to TFS, limit your token's scope to Agent Pools (read, manage).

  6. When you're done, make sure to copy the token. You'll use this token as your password. Select Close.

    Use a token as the password for your Git tools or apps

Use your personal access token

Your token is your identity and represents you when it's used. Keep your tokens secret and treat them like your password.

See the following examples of using your PAT.

  • Username: yourPAT
  • Password: yourPAT

or

  • git clone https://anything:{yourPAT}@dev.azure.com/yourOrgName/yourProjectName/_git/yourRepoName

To keep your token more secure, use credential managers so you don't have to enter your credentials every time. We recommend the following credential managers:

Revoke personal access tokens to remove access

When you don't need your token anymore, just revoke it to remove access.

  1. From your home page, open your profile. Go to your security details.

    Go to the organization home page, open your profile, go to Security

  2. Revoke access.

    Revoke a token or all tokens

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q: What is my Azure DevOps Services URL?

A: https://dev.azure.com/{yourorganization}

Q: Can I regenerate a PAT?

A: No, but you can extend a PAT or modify its scope.

Q: Is there a way to renew a PAT via rest API?

A: No, we don’t have a rest API to renew a PAT. It has to be done within the user interface (UI).

Q: Where can I learn more about how to use PATs?

A: For examples of how to use PATs, see Git credential managers, REST APIs, NuGet on a Mac, and Reporting clients.

Q: What notifications will I get about my PAT?

A: Users receive two notifications during the lifetime of a PAT, one at creation and the other seven days before the expiration.

The following notification is sent at PAT creation:

PAT creation notification

The following notification is sent - a PAT is near expiration:

PAT near expiration notification

Q: What does "Full Access" mean?

A: The user has all access.

Q: What do I do if I get an unexpected PAT notification?

A: An administrator or a tool might have created a PAT on your behalf. See the following examples:

  • When you connect to an Azure DevOps Services Git repo through git.exe. it creates a token with a display name like "git: https://MyOrganization.visualstudio.com/ on MyMachine."
  • When you or an admin sets up an Azure App Service web app deployment, it creates a token with a display name like "Service Hooks :: Azure App Service :: Deploy web app."
  • When you or an admin sets up web load testing as part of a pipeline, it creates a token with a display name like "WebAppLoadTestCDIntToken".
  • When a Microsoft Teams Integration Messaging Extension is set up, it creates a token with a display name like "Microsoft Teams Integration".

If you still believe that a PAT exists in error, we suggest that you revoke the PAT. Next, change your password. As an Azure Active Directory user, check with your administrator to see if your organization was used from an unknown source or location.

Q: How can I use a PAT in my code?

A: See the following sample that gets a list of builds using curl.

curl -u username[:{personalaccesstoken}] https://dev.azure.com/{organization}/_apis/build-release/builds

If you wish to provide the PAT through an HTTP header, you must first convert it to a Base64 string (the following example shows how to convert to Base64 using C#). The resulting string can then be provided as an HTTP header in the format:
Authorization: Basic BASE64USERNAME:PATSTRING
Here it is in C# using the HttpClient class.
public static async void GetBuilds()
{
    try
    {
        var personalaccesstoken = "PATFROMWEB";

        using (HttpClient client = new HttpClient())
        {
            client.DefaultRequestHeaders.Accept.Add(
                new System.Net.Http.Headers.MediaTypeWithQualityHeaderValue("application/json"));

            client.DefaultRequestHeaders.Authorization = new AuthenticationHeaderValue("Basic",
                Convert.ToBase64String(
                    System.Text.ASCIIEncoding.ASCII.GetBytes(
                        string.Format("{0}:{1}", "", personalaccesstoken))));

            using (HttpResponseMessage response = client.GetAsync(
                        "https://dev.azure.com/{organization}/{project}/_apis/build/builds?api-version=5.0").Result)
            {
                response.EnsureSuccessStatusCode();
                string responseBody = await response.Content.ReadAsStringAsync();
                Console.WriteLine(responseBody);
            }
        }
    }
    catch (Exception ex)
    {
        Console.WriteLine(ex.ToString());
    }
}

When your code is working, it's a good time to switch from basic auth to OAuth.

Enabling IIS Basic Authentication invalidates using PATs for TFS. Learn more about using IIS Basic Authentication with TFS on-premises.

Q: Can I use basic auth with all of Azure DevOps REST APIs?

A: No. You can use basic auth with most of them, but organizations and profiles only support OAuth.