Your Old Websites

Did you have an online presence in your youth? Do you enjoy cringing at your younger self?

Have you forgotten all of your old passwords? Do you have no idea which email you would have even signed up with?

Maybe I can help… like a fairy godmother?

I was in a similar situation until a couple of years ago I took on the project of archiving my old accounts on various websites. I might have a few tricks up my sleeve that could help you find YOUR old stuff (or at least scraps of it - we take what we can get!)

Make a list of every website you probably had an account on (if the websites are relatively still around). Here are some suggestions where I found some juicy younger-me nostalgia:

Okay, next, you need a point of reference. If you can remember your old Yahoo or Hotmail e-mail address - even if you forgot your password - this is a great starting point.

If you had a bunch of e-mail addresses and you’re not sure which one you used BUT you remember the username you used for the site, sometimes you can request a password reset on that site by username, and it will give you a “hint” to what e-mail address was used. Something like “XxS******@*******.com”. That way, you know exactly which e-mail address was associated with the account.

Let’s say your e-mail address was… But you have no idea what the password is.

Chances are, you haven’t logged into this account since 2006. Yahoo and Hotmail have this interesting feature where your account is 'deactivated' after a while of being inactive, usually about a year or so. Then eventually it is deleted. Once your account has been deleted, it frees up that e-mail address again… do you see where I’m going with this?

If you need to regain access to an old e-mail account that you had on either of those sites...

~ Try logging in to the account with any random password. If the account still exists, it will give you a notification that the password is incorrect. If the account doesn't exist anymore, it will say so.

~ If the account doesn't exist... Sign up for a new account
(note: Microsoft requires a phone # when you sign up and if you use the same one too many times, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work with Google numbers either the same time I checked, so I usually ask my friend if I can “borrow” their phone number in order to create an account).

~ Create the exact same email address.

Okay here's the magic part: Go to the website you’re pretty sure you used it on (Gaia, Photobucket, etc.) and request a password reset for your old e-mail BAM. [Hacker voice] You’re in.

~ If you used another e-mail service like maybe an obscure ISP address that doesn’t exist anymore, etc. or an account that is still active which you’re “locked” out of, you won’t be able to use this method.

If you’re like me and used super basic passwords lucky and you actually remember your password, here are a few things to know:

~ You can log in to your old e-mail addresses still. I think they’ll be empty if inactive but it’s useful for generating password resets.

~ You can log in to your photobucket - if you've tried this in the past it didn't work try again. Now redirects to automatically. Before then, when I tried to log in via the website, it told me my password was wrong. It works on the "app" though! I got like 5 old albums of photos/graphics I thought were gone forever this way.