How to Reset your Gmail Password

Hmm… was that a 9 or a 6? An "I" or an "L"? Was it upper-case or lower-case? Let's face it, making up good passwords on the Internet, keeping track of what they're all used for, and occasionally changing them to keep your accounts secure means that you'll probably forget one of them sooner or later. If that one happens to be to your Gmail account, here's what to do.

To Reset a Gmail Password

  1. Go to www.gmail.com in your web browser. Now, instead of logging in (because we'll assume that you can't), click Need Help?

  2. A new screen will pop up where Google will ask you why you're having trouble signing in. Click the button beside "I Don't Know My Password", and then click in the new box that appears and type in your Gmail email address. Then click Continue.  This will take you through several different options that you can use to reset your account password.

Resetting your Password by entering a Previous Password

If you have changed your password before on your Gmail account, Gmail will ask you to type in the last password that you remember. Click in the text box highlighted below, and then type in a password that you remember using for your Gmail account. Then click Continue. If you can't remember which passwords you've used for Gmail, click I Don't Know.

Resetting your Password with a Mobile Device that Previously Accessed Gmail

If you have a mobile device from which you have accessed Gmail before (smart phone, tablet computer, etc.), you can tell Gmail to send a specialized notification to that device that will allow you to reset your password. Click Send Notification, or if you can't get to your device or use it for some reason (e.g. the battery is out of juice), click I Can't Access My Device.

Resetting your Password using a Previously-Registered (Mobile) Phone

You may also be able to get the notification to reset your password if you have a phone number registered in Gmail. Click either of the buttons to decide whether you want to receive the notification through a text message or an automated phone call, and then click Continue. Or, if you can't get to your phone or can't use it for some reason (e.g. the battery is out of juice), click I Can't Access My Phone.

Resetting your Password with a Previously-Submitted Alternate Email Address

If you have an alternate email address registered in Gmail, you can send an email to that account with instructions on how to reset your password by clicking Continue on this screen.

Verify Your Identity to Reset Your Gmail Password

If all of these recovery options don't work, you can click Verify Your Identity when it appears.

Gmail will now ask you a series of questions to help verify that you're really someone who is locked out of their own account, and not someone trying to break into someone else's account. 

First, click in the top box and type in an email address that Gmail can use to contact you if they need to. You can use an address for another email website (like Yahoo Mail) that you have access to, or you can use a friend or family member's email… just make sure that you tell them what you're doing first so that they don't think their own Gmail account (if they have one) has a problem!  Then, click in the bottom box and re-type the email address. When you're done, click Continue.

Next, Gmail will ask you about when you created your account, as well as when the last time you remember logging into it was.  Click and select the months from each of the drop-down menus, and then click in the "Day" and "Year" boxes and type the respective information in (or you can use the little arrows within the boxes to scroll up and down the numbers). If you don't remember either of these dates, just put in your best guess. When you're done, click Continue.

Next, Gmail will ask you questions about how you used it. The first set of boxes will allow you to input up to five addresses to which you sent email frequently. Click in each box and type in any email addresses that you remember.

The second set of boxes allows you to input the names of any custom labels that you created (but not default ones like "Spam", "Trash", "Inbox", and "Sent Mail"; everybody has these, so they won't help identify your unique account). Click in each box and type in the names of any custom labels that you remember.

The box in the third section allows you to put in an email address that you used (or could use) as a backup to Gmail. If you have an account with an alternate email service, it might be a good idea to click the box here and type its address in; Gmail might recognize it.

If you don't remember any of this information, you can just try putting in your best guesses, or you can click Skip These Questions if you draw a total blank. Otherwise, when you're done, click Continue.

Finally, Gmail will ask you if you have used any other Google products that you might have accessed with your Gmail account, and when you started using them.

There are four sets of boxes, so you can select up to four services and dates for each of them.  In each row, click the leftmost box and select a Google service from the drop-down menu, then click the middle box and select a start month from the drop-down menu, and then click the rightmost box and type in a start year (or click the little arrows inside this box to scroll up and down the numbers).

If you can't remember the exact dates that you started using these services, just put in your best guess.  Also, if you haven't used any other Google products (or don't think you have, or they aren't listed in any of the drop-down menus), then don't bother doing any of this. In any case, click Submit when you're done.

You will now have a choice of how you wish Google to contact you in order to fix the problem.

The first method is by phone. Click the flag icon and select your country's flag from the drop-down list (this is so Google will know what country code to apply to your phone number) and then click in the box beside it and type in a phone number at which Google can reach you. Then click Call Me Now. You should get a phone call from a Google representative within a few minutes. They will walk you through the process of resetting your password and getting back into your account.

The other method is by getting Google to talk to the company that supplies your Internet connection. If you use this method, you will have to enter information in all three sections.

First, click inside the box in the first section and type in any other information that you remember about your Gmail account. This could be custom labels or folders that you created, emails that you received recently, what your signature was, or anything else that could help someone tell it apart from any other account.

In the next section, Google will ask you if there is anywhere else where you can get email from your Gmail account, even though you're locked out. This might be the case if you can automatically log into Gmail through an application on your mobile device (like a smart phone or tablet computer) or through another email service such as Microsoft Outlook. Click the respective button beside "Yes" if you can, "No" if you can't, or "I Don't Know" if this whole thing totally confuses you (which is fine; Google won't judge you, and neither will we).

In the final section, Google will ask you for the name of your Internet service provider, or ISP. This is the telecommunications company that supplies your Internet connection, and that periodically sends you a bill asking you to pay for it. Google lists some common ones: Shaw, Verizon, ComCast, Time Warner Cable, Rogers/Bell (if Canadian), etc. Click in the box here and type in the name of your ISP.  When you have completed all of these sections, click Submit.

 That's pretty much all the help we can give you with resetting your Gmail password.  The rest is up to you and Google.  Good luck!


How to Change your Gmail Password

If you think that someone might know your Gmail password, or could easily guess it, you can change it. It might not be a bad idea to change your password once in a while anyway, just to keep a step ahead of anyone who might try to crack it. Hopefully, nobody would, but… it's a precaution worth keeping in mind.

How to Change your Gmail Password

  1. Go to www.gmail.com and log in. When you get to your main "Inbox" screen, click the settings button () in the top-right corner, and select Settings.

  2. Now, click Accounts and Import in the menu across the top, and then click Change Password.

  3. You'll be taken to a new page with boxes that ask you to input your current password, your new password, and a copy of your new password (to verify it). Click in each of the respective boxes and type in the information requested (it will appear on the screen as little bullet points to protect it from prying eyes; this is normal).

    Like it was when you first signed up for your Gmail account, your new password can be made up of any combinations of characters that you can type out with your keyboard, but it has to include at least 8. Try to make it something that you can remember, but is not too obvious. Gmail will help you with a little pop-up balloon that warns you if your password is too short, or if somebody could easily guess it.


     

  4. When you've come up with a password that you like, write it down somewhere so that you can remember it. Then click on Change Password.

NOTE: Once you change your password, your old password will never work on your account again. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to keep track of your old passwords as well as your current one, so if you ever need to come up with a new password again, you won't have to worry about Gmail blocking one because you've already used it.


Gmail vs. Outlook

A question we have received often at Techboomers about Gmail is: "I already use Microsoft Outlook for my email, and it works fine for me; why should I switch to Gmail?"  In the interest of helping you decide, we'll go over the strong points of each email service in comparison to the other.  Then, we'll give you a final verdict.

What is Gmail is better at?

  • Speed — Generally, Gmail is faster than Outlook when it comes to the speed at which emails are sent and received.

  • Keeping emails available — Gmail sorts emails with "labels" instead of in folders, so they're still available to you and you don't have to rummage through folders to find a certain email.

  • Organizing and saving space — Gmail automatically groups emails from the same people about the same subject into "conversations".  This not only makes it easier to find related emails, but it also saves a bit of space in your inbox.

  • Search features — As Gmail is made by the company behind the Internet's most popular search engine, it has much more advanced parameters with which you can find an email that you're looking for.  Plus, you can turn any search into a filter, so that all emails that you find (and ones that you receive in the future that are like the ones that you find) can have something done to them automatically all at once.  For example, you can apply a certain label to them, or mark them all as having been read.

  • Integration with Google services — Gmail ties into Google Search and a lot of other Google services, so it's good if you use things like Google Docs, Google Plus, Google Hangouts, and — of course — Google Search.

  • Customization — The "Labs" section of Gmail gives you tons of additional experimental features, like for retracting emails that you've just recently sent or sending emails based on templates.

  • Backups — Gmail automatically saves drafts of messages that you're working on, so you can come back to them easily if you accidentally close the window or something else happens.

  • Storage space — Gmail offers 15 GB of memory space (though it's shared between Google Drive and Google Plus).  Outlook says that it offers "unlimited" storage space, but in practical terms, it only offers about 5 GB of memory space (which is shared with OneDrive).  However, you can purchase additional memory space for both services.

What is Outlook better at?

  • Less cluttered layout — Compared to Gmail, Outlook's interface is simpler and cleaner.  Less information is available right on the screen, but at least it isn't in your way.

  • Integration with Microsoft services — Outlook connects with a lot of Microsoft services, such as Skype, Microsoft Live, and OneDrive.

  • Extension of Microsoft Office — Outlook allows you to edit Microsoft Office documents sent as attachments right in your inbox, even if you don't have Microsoft Office installed.

  • More easily access emails offline — Outlook offers easier connectivity to your emails offline if you have the desktop application installed.  Gmail can do this too, but you need Google's Chrome browser and a specific add-on program for it.

  • Less intrusive advertising — Outlook allows you to opt out of targeted ads; Gmail does not.

  • Better integration with social media — Outlook allows you to connect with and import your contacts from common social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter.  Gmail only allows this for Google Plus and certain other email services.

  • Easier-to-use function for important emails — Outlook's "flagging" system for remembering important emails is more functional than Gmail's "starring" system, as it allows you to do things such as set reminders for an event or having to reply to an email.

The final verdict

Overall, we feel that Gmail has a slight edge over Outlook.  It has more storage space for all of your emails and attachments, and has better search and backup features that make emails easy to find and difficult to lose.  In addition, Gmail has an organization scheme that keeps your emails accessible while still not taking up too much space, and it has tons of useful custom features that allow it to work just the way you want it to.  Many say that Gmail is also slightly faster than Outlook in sending or receiving emails.

That by no means is to say that Outlook is a bad email client.  Its interface is easier to use than Gmail's (and isn't as cluttered with targeted advertisements), and its desktop program makes it much easier to access your email offline than with Gmail.  It is also better at connecting with common social media websites than Gmail is, and it has better features for keeping track of important emails.

Overall, Outlook seems more like a no-nonsense, all-in-one business tool when compared to Gmail.  Gmail, on the other hand, seems focused on making a pure email program that strikes the best balance between being as efficient as possible while still being functional and easy to use.  So, our advice is to use the service that has more of what you want for your purposes.  If Outlook does something that you wish it didn't, or doesn't do something that you wish it did, try out Gmail.  It may just have the features that you're looking for.


How to Import Contacts to Gmail

Say that Gmail wasn't the first or only email service that you've ever used, but you want to have all of the same contacts that you had in another email service — such as Microsoft Hotmail or Yahoo Mail — in Gmail as well.  But flipping back and forth between that service and Gmail, entering in the information for each contact one-by-one… that would be a total pain, right?  Fortunately, Gmail has a feature that makes this otherwise tedious process quick and easy.

How to import contact information to Gmail Contacts

  1. Go to www.gmail.com in your web browser and log in (if you haven't already).

  2. Click the gear icon () in the top-right corner of the screen and select Settings from the drop-down menu.

  3. Click Accounts and Import in the menu across the top, and then click Import Mail and Contacts.

  4. A new window will pop up asking you which email account you want to import your contacts from.  Type in your email address for that account, and then click Continue.

  5. You may be asked to sign into your other email account in order to move your emails or contacts from that account to your Gmail account.  Just click Continue.

  6. Now, log into your other account.  In our case, it's a Microsoft Hotmail account.

  7. Your other email account may ask you if you want to let ShuttleCloud (the app that Gmail uses to transfer your email and contacts to your Gmail account) access your info.  Since it's going to need that access in order to move your stuff to Gmail, go ahead and click Yes.

  8. Once ShuttleCloud has access to your other email account, you'll be asked to close that window (click the "X" in the top right corner).  A new window will pop up asking you what you want to import to Gmail from your other account.  You can:

    — Import all of your emails that you already have in the account
    — Import all of your contacts that you already have in the account
    — Have the account forward all emails it receives to your Gmail account for the next 30 days

    Click the check boxes next to each option to select or deselect it.  In this case, we'll be choosing to just import contacts.  When you've selected the options that you want, click Start Import.

  9. You'll get a confirmation window telling you that Gmail will begin importing your selected information, even if you close Gmail or turn off your computer.  It may also take some time before you start seeing any of your imported information.  Just click OK.

  10. Now, let's go to the function selector (it automatically changes back to Gmail when you go to the "Settings" screen) and change it back to Contacts.  Voila!  All of the people we knew from our other email account and their information are now in our Gmail Contacts!

Great!  Now you know how to import information about your contacts from other email services into Gmail!