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Ask Leo! #723 – How Do I Recover My Facebook Password?

This Week

Featured: Options if you lose your Facebook password. Also this week: replacement power supplies and chargers, and the difference between typing and pasting.

Semi-related: if you've read any of my writings on literacy, critical thinking skills, and related topics you'll know that education is a something that's very important to me. If you've read any of my writings on aging, or on information availability with today's technology, you'll also know that I'm also a firm believer that education need, indeed should, never stop. In my opinion embracing that mindset makes for a much happier life, as well as a less frustrating experience with ever-changing technology.

My friend Danny Iny has written a new book, Leveraged Learning where he discusses in detail how the educational system is broken, and how its future will focus on lifelong learning. Clearly something that speaks to me.

The book will publish later this year, but you can read it now, online in its entirety, for free, right here: Leveraged Learning. You'll need to opt-in to a mailing list as your "price for entry", but Danny is trustworthy, and you can unsubscribe any time. I wouldn't mention it if I didn't believe in his integrity.

If you do end up reading Danny's book -- now, for free, or later when it formally releases -- let me know what you think!

How Do I Recover My Facebook Password?

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I stupidly forgot my Facebook login password and can't get on. Now what do I do? Can I have Facebook send it to me?

No, Facebook won't email you your password. If they do security correctly, they can't.

There are two approaches to try: the official way, and the not-so-official way. Even if you don't use the not-so-official way, you should know about it, as it represents a potential security threat.

Facebook login password reset

(Note that the steps here change occasionally, based on Facebook's own changes as well as the specifics of your situation. Simply follow the steps as they're presented to you by Facebook, even if they are slightly different than what I've outlined here.)

If you know you don't know your password, you need to recover your account. Just below the login password entry field on Facebook's sign-in page is a link: Forgot account?

Facebook Forgot account? link

Click that, and you'll be taken to a page where you can enter the email address or phone number associated with your account.

Facebook Find your account

You'll then be presented with a list of account recovery options associated with your account.

Facebook reset your password

Select the one you want to use and click Continue. In the example above, I have only an alternate email address configured, so I have no other choice.

Related

I can't over-emphasize the importance keeping your account recovery information up to date for Facebook (and for any online account you might have). Check out A One-Step Way to Lose Your Account … Forever for more on the topic.

No longer have access to these?

You'll note a link entitled “No longer have access to these?” Click it if you know you no longer have access to the recovery methods you had originally associated with your Facebook account.

This is a serious problem.

You only want Facebook to give access to those who are authorized to have it, but they need a way to prove that. Your account recovery information is that proof. Without it, Facebook has no way to confirm you are the rightful owner of the account and should be allowed access.

Without it, Facebook won't give you access, and in the worst case, may even elect to disable your account.

Facebook - No email access

Setting a new password

Assuming you do have access to the recovery account or method you've selected, Facebook will send you a code.

Facebook - enter security code

In my example, it showed up in email.

Facebook recovery code

Enter the code as requested and click on Continue.

Having proven you are the rightful account owner, you're asked to select a new password.

Facebook - choose new password

That's the official and proper way to regain access to your account: by proving you can respond to the password recovery methods you set up originally, and then set a new password.

Facebook login password recovery

If you want to recover your existing password, I need to make it clear that you might not be able to do this.

That being said, if you've had your browser remember the password for you, it might be frighteningly easy.

I'll use Firefox as my example, but most browsers have similar functionality.

Click on the “hamburger” menu at the right end of the Firefox toolbar, and then click on Options (or Preferences, depending on your version). Use the search box in the resulting page to search for “password”, and when it appears, click on Saved Logins…

Firefox Preferences

This will open a window listing all of the sites where Firefox saved your password. Click Show Passwords.

Firefox Saved logins

After a little extra paranoia:

Firefox - Confirm show passwords

The Saved Passwords dialog box is updated with an extra column — the actual password — visible for all to see.
Firefox PasswordsNaturally, I've blurred my password here, but in reality, it's clear as day.

All of this assumes you've allowed your browser to save your passwords for you. If you have not, this technique will not work.

Security issue

If your browser can show you your passwords:

  1. Go ahead and feel relieved if you were able to recover your Facebook password this way.
  2. Be very, very scared.

If you allow your browser to save passwords, anyone with access to your machine can do what we just did: use this technique to discover all your saved passwords.

This is one reason I don't recommend letting your browser remember passwords. If you feel you must, make absolutely certain your machine is always secure.

What next?

After you've recovered your account — or after you've determined that it cannot be recovered — I strongly recommend you read my article 12 Steps to Keep from Getting Your Account Hacked. You'll want to do everything you can to avoid this situation again. Be it due to forgetting a password or to having had your account hacked, that article will help you set things up securely to prevent it from happening again.

Related Links & Comments: How Do I Recover My Facebook Password?
https://askleo.com/4388

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Can I Use a Charger that Provides the Same Voltage but a Different Amperage?

I'd like to know if it is okay to use a different power charger for my netbook. Originally, the charger specs are 19v and 1.58A. This charger is not available anymore and I can only find a 19v and 2.15A. Can I use this as a replacement?

Yes — with a couple of caveats, of course.

If it's not made specifically for your particular computer, getting the right power supply is important, and involves matching voltage, amperage, and polarity.

Each have different constraints.

Continue Reading: Can I Use a Charger that Provides the Same Voltage but a Different Amperage?
https://askleo.com/5276

Can I Tell If Something's Been Pasted Instead of Typed?

I want to know, if I have received a .rar file which contains many jpeg files and I have to type it in Notepad, but I am doing copy-paste from the image in the Microsoft notes and then copy from there and I paste it in the Notepad and I save the document as .txt, can that be detected?

I get this question, and variations on it, surprisingly often. I have theories about why, but nonetheless it's a real question that apparently a lot of people have.

On one hand, the answer seems obvious. However, depending on the circumstances, there are possibilities we need to consider.

The devil, as they say, is in the copy/pasted details.

Continue Reading: Can I Tell If Something's Been Pasted Instead of Typed?
https://askleo.com/63309

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