Recovering my Gmail Account
January 6, 2017 10:23 PM   Subscribe

I think there are people here that can help me with this puzzle! You guys are my last hope!

Metafilter knows me, I have been here for years. You know that I am nomadic.

My last move was a pretty chaotic one from Malaysia to China. It involved a long stretch of time without a VPN, and left behind the worst asshole boss I have ever had to deal with. A vindictive prick with decent computer skills, and possibly access to my gmail and/or computer before I left.

Anyways, that is maybe not super relevant background, but now I am in PRC and blocked out of my Google account after a long (6+ month) period of inactivity.

Using the account recovery options:

-I can give them a recent password, but apparently not the current password. Whether it was maliciously changed or I just forgot in the chaos is hard to say.

-I cannot do phone verification, the registered Malaysian phone number is gone.

-I can get a Google confirm code to my current work email.

-I can answer my preset security question.

After a few different tries, always with one thing or another I cannot provide, it refuses to accept my identity.


The one question I have no idea how to answer, that might get me through, is "When did you open your Gmail account?" I need a month and year.

I haven't a clue, and without access to my email don't know how I could even try to find out. I was an early adopter, I distinctly remember getting an invite after I first read about it in a Metafilter thread, when the service was first announced. I don't remember if I was given an invite directly from a Mefite, or just asked Gmail for one and eventually got an auto-invite from Google. But is was pretty early in Gmail history...

Every contact I can think of that I have known that long has had a new email over this lengthy period, so I can't just ask a friend, "hey, when did I first send you an email from my gmail address?"

How do I find the month and year of my opening of my Gmail account? I am thinking that a bunch of guessing, even if I get it right eventually, will not look good to Google's verification robot.
posted by Meatbomb to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Response by poster: Oh, and just to add, I am working from my own PC that was a registered / known device linked to me throughout my Google history.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:29 PM on January 6, 2017

Well... some people still have their old email, somewhere, in c:\c-drive-2012-backup\users\me\documents\c-drive-2006-backup\documents and settings\outlook\inbox.mbx, or whatever it happens to be. Have any good friends who are also packrats?
posted by alexei at 11:16 PM on January 6, 2017

I looked through the first couple tagged Mefi threads on gmail here, as in the oldest ones, but you didn't comment on them. Maybe you remember reading one of them? Could give you a "not before" date anyhow.

Alternatively, I don't suppose you'd have access to whatever email you received that invite at?
posted by nat at 1:39 AM on January 7, 2017

I was locked out of a backup Gmail account last month when I was away from home. I managed to get back in when I used a vpn that made it look like I was in my normal location. Maybe try using a Malaysian VPN and logging in?
posted by crazy with stars at 6:57 AM on January 7, 2017

Every contact I can think of that I have known that long has had a new email over this lengthy period, so I can't just ask a friend, "hey, when did I first send you an email from my gmail address?"

The earliest email I have from you is September 2005 if that helps nail it down some. You signed up for MeFi in November of 2004. I got my gmail account in April of 2004. All three "get your email account" MeTa threads I've seen predate this MeFi account, so unless you had another account, it would have been some sort of side thing.
posted by jessamyn at 9:51 AM on January 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

If it helps to have someone in the US do this for you, I would help, but I am a stranger, but you prolly have buddies stateside?
posted by theora55 at 12:56 PM on January 7, 2017

Came across this question from January 2005. Seems like people were drowning in invites trying to give them away. I didn't see any comments from meatbomb in there but there's a few people offering them over memail. Dunno, maybe it looks familiar?
posted by mannequito at 4:36 PM on January 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well I finally got it back. Managed to get the original computer that Google still recognised onto a VPN that Google did not think was suspicious.

None of the recovery stuff ever panned out, but very happy to mark this as resolved!
posted by Meatbomb at 2:53 AM on July 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

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