We are human and all humans are liable to forget important information. You are certainly not the only one to forget your Gmail password – there would be hundreds, if not thousands of subscribers who have would have lost this password before you. I too have been guilty of this in the past and so, learning from experience, keep a small “black book” in which I note all login details. And I don’t walk around with it; the book is safe and sound in a fireproof secured locker!
Anyway, if you’ve lost your Gmail password, it’s not difficult to get back the access to your account. And this depends on whether you remember some other important pieces of information. Let us start the process of retrieving the login detail.
Gmail being is a reliable and helpful service has a whole section dedicated to providing solutions to common problems. Point your browser to the password recovery page. Enter your username and hit the “Submit” button.
You will now be shown the captcha image (image with wavy text) and you need to enter the characters you see. This is done to ensure you are indeed a human (we’ve already hit that point above ;-). Assuming you were able to complete this step, the password retrieval details will be sent to your alternate email address. Gmail won’t tell you exactly which email address the instructions were sent but it would inform you the domain of the email address as “instructions sent to your hotmail.com email address“.
What is the alternate email address? Well, this was the “optional” field in the Gmail account creation form in which you had to enter another email address of yours. You may have ignored this field or left it blank intentionally if Gmail was your first email account – I understand and so does Gmail. If this is the scenario, you can get back the access of your account ONLY after five days by answering the security question.
The security question is a protective measure against the theft of your Gmail account password. When you were filling the form to create the Gmail account, you were asked to either select a security question or enter your own which was followed by a request for the answer. The security question and answer would now be the key to getting your Gmail account password… but only after 5 days of inactivity. Google clearly mentions that this period of five days cannot be waived off.
If you didn’t enter an alternate email or don’t have access to it anymore and have also forgotten the security question and answer… hard luck! There is no way to get your account back. So what do you do?
I offer two pieces of advice – forget about the account with the lost password, get a new Gmail address. I suppose this account was not very important as we don’t tend to forget vital information do we?
Having said that, there is a way to get hold of the lost account again. All inactive Gmail accounts are removed after 9 months (at the time of writing). Mark the day in your calendar and signup for a new account with the same username once the period is over. Yes, all your old emails will be deleted but you at least get your old account (with the same email address) back!
The icon of the "Reading List" on Mac OS and iOS is based on Steve Jobs glasses. It's a kind of tribute to the Apple founder. [more...]