How can I get into my email if I don't remember my password or ID?

Passwords and IDs exist to protect email accounts and other things from people who have no right to access them. It behoves you to remember your password and ID details. If you forget them, getting your email account back can prove very difficult. However, this is how it should be. Easy access to email accounts without the correct security details would be illogical.

Password reminder

If you try to log in to your email account but fail to enter your password or enter an erroneous password, some email accounts will prompt you with a password reminder. For example, reading “my first pet,” might trigger your brain into remembering that your password is “shnookums.” In some email programmes, you have to click “I can't access my account” or similar. You then choose “I forgot my password” or similar and follow instructions.

Contact service provider

If your service provider does not have a “I can't access my account” procedure, you’ll need to inform them of your plight some other way. Set up another email account and send a message explaining the situation. They should reply to your email giving further instructions. Hopefully these instructions will be rigorous and arduous. If it was ridiculously easy to find out someone’s email and ID details this way, you would not necessarily want an email account with that particular service provider.

Stored details

If you have stored your password and ID details somewhere, this might now be your saving grace. Despite the fact that it’s a security risk, some people make a note of their password and ID details, either electronically in a plain text file, or on a piece of paper. Locate the file on your computer or track down the piece of paper and you will have the details you need to gain access to your email account.

Try other passwords

If you have several passwords for other accounts of different types, you could try them on the account you can't access. Many people use the same password more than once as an aid to memory, although the practice is frowned upon by security experts. Be aware, however, that some password input boxes only permit a small number of attempts before locking you out for several hours. This is frustrating if you are struggling to access your own email account, but a laudable security feature nonetheless.


Click the link in Resources. Click one of the following radio buttons: "I don't know my password" or "I don't know my username." As this is a radio button option, you can only choose one option. If you select "I don't know my password," you get the message: "To reset your password, enter the username you use to sign in to Google. This can be your Gmail address, or it may be another email address you associated with your account." Enter your email address in the box. Click the blue "Continue" button. The following message appears: "Reset your password using the verification method below: Get a verification code (via SMS) on my phone." Enter your phone number and a verification code will be sent to you. If you choose "I don't know my username" you are asked to "Enter your recovery email address," "Enter the name on the account" and "Prove you're not a robot" by typing two pieces of text then pressing the blue "Submit" button.


Click the link in Resources. You will see: "What problem are you having with your Yahoo! account?" Click one of the following radio buttons: "I have a problem with my password" or "I forgot my Yahoo! ID." As this is a radio button option, you can only choose one option. Click the yellow "Next" button. If you select "I have a problem with my password" you get the message: "We need some information to verify your ID. This protects your account from unauthorised access." As you have to enter your Yahoo ID, this would not be very helpful, as you have forgotten both your password and your Yahoo ID. Go back a step and click "I forgot my Yahoo! ID" instead. Click the yellow "Next" button. You get the message: "We need to match all your information below with our account records to locate your Yahoo! ID." Enter your alternate email address. This must be a verified account, already registered as an alternate to your Yahoo! account. Enter your birthday date including day, month and year. Enter your country of residence. Enter your postcode. Click the yellow "Next" button. Your details will be emailed to your alternate email address.


Click the link in Resources. You will see: "Reset your password. To reset your password, enter your Microsoft account and the characters in the picture below." Follow the instructions and click the blue "Next" button. You will see: "Reset your password. Select an option for resetting your password." Choose between "Email me a reset link" and "Security Question." If you choose "Email me a reset link" you will be asked to enter your alternate email address. If you choose "Security Question" you will have to supply information you have already given, such as the name of the first street you lived in. When you have satisfied either security requirement, your details will be revealed.

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About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.