What’s My ID?

If you have used the Internet, email, or logged onto a computer, chances are that you have several logon IDs. Surprisingly, a lot of folks do not remember them. I don’t know why this is, but it is a problem that is going around like a bad cold. Maybe it is because you don’t always have to re-enter it because your computer does that for you. That could be it.

Sometimes an ID is easy to figure out because it looks just like your email address, but the password that goes with it has been forgotten. Some folks are surprised that the account that they signed up for at a useful website won’t log them on when they enter the password for their email account. “It’s my email address, so this password should work!”

It’s not your email address; it’s an account ID at a different site. For your convenience, your logon ID looks the same as your email address. But it is a different account, and not at all connected to your email account.

Now, what about that password? It can happen that you’ll rarely need to enter an ID and password for a site or service that you regularly use because, as noted, your computer or your web browser may keep track of those for you. But if you ever need to access those sites or services on a different device – say, on a phone or tablet or a computer that you’re borrowing for a moment – then you’re going to need to recall your account ID and its own, particular password.

For myself, I use and recommend a specialized ‘password safe’ app.

This matter of remembering the site-specific passwords really gets to be important when you’re moving to a new computer or phone. You’re going to need your account IDs and passwords. The IDs are easy. They usually look just like your email address. But what is the password?

Of course, I’ve been doing this stuff for a while, so it’s second nature at this point to keep track of every single account ID and password that I sign up for. That may seem like extra work, but from experience, you just never know when you’re going to need them again.

Carefully keeping track of your account IDs and passwords lets you find them again when needed – and lets you use different, unique passwords for each account. (Which, as your computer guy, I sensibly advise.)

Some folks do keep track of their accounts and passwords on a piece of paper or in a notebook. An alphabetized address book is better, of course. But these things can be misplaced or lost. Other folks use a spreadsheet program to keep a list. These are nice and searchable. Just don’t use the word “password” in it anywhere. If bad guys get into your computer, they’ll search for that word.

For myself, I use and recommend a specialized “password safe” app. It’s a secure database program, with its own password (of course), and because all my password, bank account info, and other such things are stored in that program, I only need to remember the one password for it.

Very convenient!

It’s safe too. The database is encrypted, so it can’t be read without the password safe program itself. And it backs itself up automatically, so the data is safe from loss. And, I can use it on all of my devices: phone, tablet, or computer. (They synchronize automatically!)

Did I say, recommended? I do recommend a password safe. There are many. Check out a few and see which you like, but do use one. IDs and passwords are just too easy to forget.

Mike Pepper, The Computer Guy, has been providing software and hardware support in New York and Connecticut for more than 35 years. He can be reached at (845) 855-5824, or www.PawlingComputerGuy.com.