How Do I Restore the Old Google Account That I Now Need Access To?

We all forget passwords sometimes. It happens. If you’re using a password manager, this shouldn’t be a problem at all – in fact, I expect you won’t be able to remember your long, complex passwords. I do not know. But there are a lot of people out there who don’t use password managers, which means they run the risk of losing access to old accounts if their passwords (and backup methods) don’t work.

This is exactly the script that Lifehacker reader Rebecca sent us. She writes:

“My Google account has been blocked for at least 2-3 years, but it is still connected to my Yahoo mailbox, so I can still send and receive emails from it through my Yahoo link, but I have a few things in my google drive id sort of back. I do not remember my password, and I no longer have my old phone number, you can help me “

Well, I’m glad you can still have some more access to your Google account, although not in the way that you hope to do. This issue is a little confusing at first, but let’s look at the options.

First, I am assuming that you do not know your Google account password. All roads lead to theGoogle account recovery tool, even if you don’t know the Gmail address associated with the account, but it will make it even more difficult for you to recover your account. For example, you need to first provide information that you might not even know, as you’ve probably already used any of the options to recover your account in the first place:

Enter your phone number and, ideally, your name, and Google will send a text message to that number to confirm that you are you. However, this will not help in your case, since you do not have access to this old number. And if you remember your backup email address, then it’s the same; Google will send a verification message to this and you will begin the account recovery process that way.

Problem? This is all just to help you remember what your Google account was. You will still have to reset your password, which can be problematic. This is what I mean. You will start by entering your email address (since you no longer have access to the phone number):

You will need to enter your name, which should be easy enough, and then you enter your email address (which you can check on Yahoo). You will receive a verification code that you will need to enter during the account recovery process, just like before.

In my case, I was then asked to enter my password, which I do not know, and was designated as such. Google then asked me to enter the last password I ever knew for this account. I assume you don’t know that either. (I wouldn’t.) If so, you’ll have to click “Try another method” and in my case Google bombarded me with other questions, like asking for the first phone number I ever linked to an account, month and year when I created my account, and so on.

Is this a cumbersome process? Absolutely. Unfortunately, this is the best thing you can do; Google does not provide additional support beyond its account recovery tool, no matter how many individual articles you read about people finding some magical customer service number (like what they get if they sign up for a Google One plan, like ) they can call for additional help. Do not worry. If the tool cannot fix it, then it cannot be fixed.

I wish it weren’t, but I kind of understand that Google is strict about this. This is a security issue. If all of his recovery tool asks you is not enough to prove that you are actually the owner of the account, the story crying on the phone does not have to convince the Google to let you. What could stop the other person from coming up with some clever way of convincing the support agent that they are really you (and should be allowed into your account)?

Anyway, I hope the Google tool is enough to help you. If not, you’re stuck. I would keep thinking about ways to verify that you are you – perhaps, for example, one of your very first Gmail messages is somewhere in your Yahoo inbox, and that might help you determine when you started an account (to reply to the test question). You may have used your old Gmail password with another service, and checking some of your shared passwords that you use all over the place – if you do – can help you sign in to your Google account.

If or when you sign in, I recommend going into your account settings and setting up a new phone number and recovery email, and changing your secret question if you’ve forgotten it too. And stay on top of that for years to come; The last thing you need to do is fight to get back to your Google account again if your recovery information is out of date. Also, consider using a password manager to store all your login information so you never have to worry about forgetting something again.


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