How to Remember a Forgotten Password

Tips to help you successfully guess your own passwords

Unless your password was randomly generated, it's probably locked away in your mind somewhere. Brute-force memory retrieval (i.e., "thinking really hard") isn't usually very effective, so what can you do to try to remember what your password was?

Most people create passwords, even complicated ones, based on people, places, and things in their personal and professional lives. Knowing this tendency, check out the clues below. They might give you enough edge to finally remember your password!

Member Sign In email and password fields
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Do not use the ideas below to create a new password. Some of the examples are too easy to guess (which is why you're here). Going forward, make a strong password or generate a random password, and then store it with a password manager so that you'll never lose it.

Try Your Other Passwords

The most obvious advice is to try some of your other passwords!

Very few computer users create unique passwords for each account that requires one. Most people have one or two passwords that they use across all of their accounts. Hackers know that people often reuse passwords and they can use this knowledge to access your other accounts.

Password reuse is one of the most pervasive, yet preventable, security problems most people experience online. Never reuse a password. See these examples of strong passwords for some ideas when making a new one.

Your Name

Try variations of your own name. While this, of course, isn't a secure way to create a password, it's very common and you may have created your password in a similar way.

For example, if your name is Michael P Archer, common passwords might include:

  • Mike1234
  • MikePA
  • leahcim
  • archerMP

You get the idea. Try different combinations of your name or nickname if you have one.

Names of Friends and Family

Many people use names or combinations of names of family members and friends to create passwords. If something rings a bell here or you have ever created passwords like this before, give this one a try.

Many people believe that using relative's names is a clever way to create a password but it's really only slightly more secure than using your own.

Pet Information

We love our pets, which is why many passwords include pet names and pet birthdays. If you treat your cat like your kid, chances are you've used his or her name as a password. Maybe you used it this time!


Birthdays are also very popular passwords, especially when combined with names. If Michael P Archer's birthday is June 5, 1975, then some passwords he might have come up with include:

  • m060575
  • 1975MPA
  • archerjune
  • mp75

There are a lot more possibilities here. If you think you've ever set a password like this, try some combinations with your information.

Again, like with everything you've read about so far, these are not good ways to create passwords, just common mistakes you may have made yourself.

Home & Office Addresses

Complete or parts of addresses important in your life could have been an inspiration for a password you created.

Think about where you grew up and all the places you've lived since then. Parts of addresses, like the street numbers and street names, are a favorite among the not-so-great password makers among us.

Ideas From Childhood

Something important to you as a child may be a theme throughout your passwords.

Examples here are endless but maybe you had a favorite pet growing up, a name for an imaginary friend, etc. These types of ideas are popular ways to create easy to remember passwords.

Important Numbers

Some numbers that often play a part in passwords include phone numbers (especially previous ones), Social Security numbers, notable sports scores, important historical dates, driver license numbers, etc.

Another interesting way people use numbers as passwords is by how they are arranged on the computer keypad. For example, a popular combination includes 1793 because these numbers are at all four corners of the keypad.

Try some of these number ideas in combination with some other ideas in this article like family and pet names.

Some Other Ideas

Other popular password inspirations include favorite foods, favorite places, vacation spots, celebrity names, and sports teams.

If you're pretty good at creating secure passwords, chances are you used a combination of any of the above ideas in creating your now forgotten password.

A Final Tip

Here are some things to think about while entering your password:

  • Is the Num Lock key on?
  • Is the Caps Lock key on?
  • Did you type slowly? Since most passwords only show asterisks as you type, you could just be mistyping.
  • Are your fingers accidentally shifted on the keyboard?
  • Is your keyboard working properly?

If you're lucky, whatever service or device you're logging on to will include a button on the screen you can press that will temporarily show you what password you just entered.

A great way to check that one of these problems isn't occurring is to open Notepad or another text editor and type the password. You may notice that a key isn't working properly, everything is accidentally in uppercase, etc.

Still Can't Remember the Password?

If after all this mental work you still can't remember your password, you may have to try something a little more high-tech, like a password recovery program.

If you need your Windows login password check out Ways to Find Lost Windows Passwords, which includes the option of using a free Windows password recovery program.

For other types of passwords, try these free password crackers.