Tech Q&A: How to replace online passwords

    Question: I have forgotten the Gmail password that I also used to sign in to my Barnes & Noble e-book account.


    I can get along without Gmail (I use AOL mail instead). But without that Gmail password, I can’t download any more books for my Nook e-reader. How can I find out what my Gmail password is or create a new one? — Joan Arnold, Tucson, Ariz.


    Answer: The solution is complicated. Here’s why:

    • The original password you used for both services is permanently lost because Gmail will only give you a new password, not tell you the old one.

    • Getting only a new Gmail password won’t help you, because the Barnes & Noble site won’t recognize it. There’s no electronic link between the two services to update passwords.

    As a result, you will need new passwords for both the Gmail and Barnes & Noble websites, and you will need to obtain the Gmail password first.

    Why? Because, once you ask Barnes & Noble for a new password, it will send your Gmail account an e-mail containing a “password reset link.” That link expires in 24 hours, so you must already be in control of your Gmail account to respond promptly.

    To regain Gmail access, go to the Gmail login screen, type your address and click “next,” then click “forgot password.”


    You will be asked to answer some security questions, or, if you have listed a phone number with Gmail, to provide it. Then a verification code will be sent to a different e-mail account that you provide; click the link to confirm that you own that account.

    Then, if Google is convinced that it’s your Gmail account, you will be given a new password to access it.

    Note: Experts advise doing this on the same computer you previously used to access Gmail.

    Google can apparently identify your computer, location or IP address.

    Once you have recovered your Gmail account, follow the Barnes & Noble password reset instructions ( When you click “send a link to my e-mail,” that starts the 24-hour period for the reset.

    If this doesn’t work, all you can do is create a new Barnes & Noble account, using your AOL email address and a different password.

    Question: I used my work email address to log in to Facebook. Now that I have left the job, my work email address will be eliminated. How can I switch my Facebook login to my Gmail account? — Lin Goodman, Minnetonka, Minn.

    Answer: It’s not difficult, but act quickly while your old work email address still exists.

    Log in with the work email address, then click the down arrow at the top right of your Facebook page.

    From the drop-down menu select “settings,” and from the next menu click “contact.” Then click “add another email or mobile number,” enter your Gmail address and click “add.” Facebook will send an email to your Gmail address; click the “confirm” button in that email.

    Now go back to the list of Facebook email accounts to make sure your Gmail account is included. If it is, you should be able to log in with that address.

    Then, check the box next to the Gmail address to make it your “primary” contact, the one to which Facebook will send any alerts about your account. Then click “remove” next to your old work address to delete it from Facebook. Click “save changes.”


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