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An alternate email address is an important security feature that you should configure should your Gmail account password or access ever be lost.

I created a Gmail account and did not put my everyday [alternate] email address. Consequently if I ever forget a password, whatever, Gmail cannot send info to my old address. How do I fix this?

Like I said to someone who asked a similar question about another email service, it's good of you to note before you need it that your alternate email address hasn't been set.

And it's definitely something you want to set before you need it.

I'll show you how.

First: Login To Your Account

You must be able to login to your account in order to change your alternate email address.

"If you have lost access to your account, if it's been hacked, if you've forgotten your password then it's too late."

If you have lost access to your account, if it's been hacked, if you've forgotten your password then it's too late.

If that's the case you'll need to try to recover access to your account before you can make any of the changes outlined here. In the case of Gmail that means you'd start in their I can't access my account troubleshooter.

Add An Alternate Email Address To Your Gmail Account

After you've logged in, Click on the Settings link in the upper right:

Gmail's Settings Link

Once in Settings, click on the Accounts and Import link:

Gmail's Accounts and Import Link in Settings

Near the bottom of the resulting page, click on Google Account settings (your account is for much more that Gmail, hence it's your Google account):

Gmail's link to Google Account Settings

On your Google accounts page, click on the Change password recovery options link:

Google's Change password recovery options link

At this point you'll likely be asked to provide your password again. This confirms that you are you and not someone else who just walked up to your computer where you happened to be logged in.

You'll then land on the Recovering your password page:

Google's Recovering your password page

There are several options here.

If you want to add an alternate email address to which password recovery messages will be sent, click on Add or remove email addresses.

If you want to change an existing address listed for recovery, simply remove it and add a new one.

If you have a mobile phone and would like to receive SMS messages for password recovery, click Add a mobile phone number.

If you would like to use or change a security question or "secret answer", click on the Edit link in the Security question section.

Of course you can use more than one, and in fact I recommend setting all three if possible. That will increase the probability that you can recover your account should you ever have a problem.

Article C4693 - January 6, 2011 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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