gmail password retrieval problems
January 9, 2014 3:45 PM   Subscribe

lost password and standard retrieval options are exhausted. what are my unorthodox options?

I cannot access a gmail account and the standard password reset/retrieval options made available by google will not work. can I hack my own gmail account? I'm desperate here...
posted by supermedusa to Technology (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It might help to know why the standard password reset/retrieval options made available by google will not work, so we do not make suggestions that won't work for you.
posted by davejay at 4:06 PM on January 9, 2014

good question, lets just say that the standard retrieval options available all point to that account. there is no secondary retrieval email address for the account (very stupid, I know) all the options google provides require me to get into that gmail account if you see what I mean.
posted by supermedusa at 4:20 PM on January 9, 2014

According to this page, you can also do recovery via the phone number associated with your account's two-step authentication system (if you set one up) or, once the account has been idle for a full 24 hours, via a security question. Have you tried both of those options?
posted by bcwinters at 4:26 PM on January 9, 2014

Is your password possibly saved in any browsers that you have used?
posted by Roger Dodger at 4:26 PM on January 9, 2014

Is your last answer trying to say that this is not your gmail account? I'm sure google has a customer support line you can call if this is on the up and up to advise you. Askmefi is not going to provide a password cracking program for you, sorry.
posted by cakebatter at 4:28 PM on January 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

this is my gmail account
2 step authentication was not set up
I am not asking anyone to advise me on illegal activities, I just want to try everything that can be done to get into my account. I thought the hive mind might have some ideas I havent thought of myself...
posted by supermedusa at 4:35 PM on January 9, 2014

Sorry I jumped to conclusions. I had a friend whose account was deleted by an ex girlfriend who hacked in and it was horrible for him! I would really try calling gmails customer service though if you haven't, they may be able to help you.
posted by cakebatter at 4:39 PM on January 9, 2014

Have you looked under your keyboard? If the retrieval process is circular requiring you to have access to the account to get into it and you cannot answer challenge questions, I would say you are pretty much SOL.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:40 PM on January 9, 2014

So, if you have a Mac, launch Keychain Access (oftentimes hidden in the Utilities folder, it comes with the operating system) and see if you happened to save the password into the keychain. You'll need to know an administrator password for your mac. There's probably something similar in Windows but I haven't a clue what that might be called.
posted by jamaro at 4:43 PM on January 9, 2014

There;s a way you can pay google a dollar or two to get a password reset without the safety features. They ask things like emails addresses sent/received, locations and browsers accessed from, etc. I've done it in the past. It takes a few days.
posted by jeather at 4:44 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

jeather, I would gladly pay for this situation to be fixed, how do I go about it? thanks so much!!
posted by supermedusa at 4:46 PM on January 9, 2014

Just for kicks, I just went through the password retrieval process for my Gmail account. It asks a ton of specific questions about the account, and even though I purposely guessed wrong on some, Gmail gave me a link to reset my password for the account. I don't have two-step activation activated, but I know for a fact that even if you do (I manage Gmail accounts at work), you can skip that part and go straight to the "answer all these security questions step."

At what step is this not working for you? Is the account so old you just can't answer enough questions correctly? All apologies, but things like "standard retrieval options point to that account" and "all the options google provides require me to get into that gmail account" are way too vague.
posted by coast99 at 4:48 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I cannot remember the details and don't want to screw around with one of my real accounts, but it was one of the options via the password recovery page here.
posted by jeather at 4:56 PM on January 9, 2014

gmail is not giving me the security questions. I dont know why. my 'retrieval loop' is not following that branch, if you will...
posted by supermedusa at 4:56 PM on January 9, 2014

I think I'm just screwed here. I do appreciate the help :P
posted by supermedusa at 4:57 PM on January 9, 2014

I suspect this is impossible these days, but here's a weird personal anecdote from the Hotmail era. Someone hacked my girlfriend's email account and changed the password. I altavista'd around and found the geocities page of some guy claiming to be a hacker who could get into email accounts. I sent him her email address and I'll be damned if he didn't write back the next day with the new password for her account and she had her Hotmail back. He didn't even ask for anything.

So ... Maybe you could find someone online with mysterious cracking abilities?
posted by jayder at 5:17 PM on January 9, 2014

gmail is not giving me the security questions. I dont know why.

Has the account been idle for 24 hours yet?
posted by bcwinters at 6:02 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

can I hack my own gmail account?

Think about it: given the existence of some reliable method that let the answer to that be "yes", there would be no point in having a password. If you could "hack" your own account, you could obviously use the same method to "hack" anybody else's. Short of a contact inside the NSA, the closest you're ever going to get is (a) getting the attention of Google customer service and (b) convincing them that you are who you say you are.

If you get no joy from Google (and you should not expect to, as only those who buy its advertising services are its customers; Gmail users are merely livestock) you might consider paying a small amount to become an actual customer of a much better email provider.
posted by flabdablet at 6:25 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I recently had to go through this process with an account I hadn't accessed in over a year. I followed the steps at and after a day or two of back-and-forth emails with customer support they eventually called me* & asked lots of questions like when I had first used the account, email addresses in my contact list, etc. Once I had answered those, they reset the password for me.

* They asked for a phone number at this point. The account did not have a phone number already associated via two-step authentication.
posted by belladonna at 7:24 PM on January 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

In case you haven't already tried it, the Gmail support forum is one possible last-ditch way of getting a real human to look at your problem. The moderators there don't have direct authority to unlock accounts, but they seem to have at least a little bit of pull with the Gmail staff.
posted by teraflop at 12:40 AM on January 10, 2014

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