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April 9, 2007

A Batch of Gmail Accounts, Accidentally Disabled

Next time when you can't access Gmail, be happy that Gmail is down only for a few minutes. Other people have to live days without their Gmail accounts (and you know it's hard to do that).

Last week, the Gmail team realized that a bunch of spammers found a temporary home at Says the Gmail team: "We have been actively investigating a batch of accounts that were accidentally disabled and are currently in the process of re-enabling these accounts. This error occurred in an effort to target a large network of spammers to keep them out of the Gmail system and keep your inbox free from spam. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we re-enable these accounts as quickly as possible."

Collateral damages, you'll say. But not if you're one of the poor souls who had the misfortune to be the target of Gmail's team raid. While some of the accounts were disabled, others didn't have links to email attachments.
My account is readable.. like i can logon. but i can't download any of the attachments. i have two huge presentations coming up and all the files are on my account. i trust google more than a usbkey soo i always have my files on my account. now i can't even get them.. and i can't get any one to send them to me. so please please fix it soon. "lockdown on sector 6" is what i get and i abide by google's terms of use.

Benedikt ("benedictus" means "blessed" in Latin), the wise soul from Gmail's Google Group, saves the day:
I think this extremely unfortunate event shows us the danger of having all the important information in one place, a place that depends on the functionality of one large software package, such as GoogleMail. (...)

What we experience right now is such a failure and most of the posts in this topic that have been posted before this one show us the consequences that can have. So let us hope that the capable engineers of Google will succeed in restoring GoogleMail's full functionatlity as they have succeded in building up the virtual world of collaboration, information and communication that has made Google what it is today.

While Gmail is a useful web application, you shouldn't use it to store mission-critical files or information. And if you do, make sure you have backups: store your files on different storage mediums, forward your Gmail messages to other accounts or pray that Gmail team doesn't have a bad day and disables your account. If you see an error message like "Lockdown in sector 4 (or 6)", complain to Google.

Google says they promptly re-enabled the affected accounts, but there are still people who can't access Gmail. And might "move their operations" to other sites, if the Gmail team continues to treat them like that.
I've been locked out of my original email for a full 7 days come midnight. I'm also locked out of anything google associated, so I can't post new content to my blog, nor check AdSense income. I thought I would have to wait the standard 5 days and now I realize my account wasn't having password issues, this was a long standing issue that it seems they knew about.

Which makes me upset enough to move my operations from google; I hope everyone else does the same...this is the only free email service I have known with regular outages, shutdowns and no customer support. The last time I lost access to my email was 3/14/06, my birthday no less...luckily, I got it back in 24 hours. Now, it's been 7 days.


  1. Weird, I've never had any problems accessing my GMail account. Never been locked out or tried to access it and found it offline...

  2. Never had a problem myself either, but I have all email forwarding to a yahoo mail account (which is about to become unlimited storage!) as well, just in case! Gmail makes it easy to forward all mail and still keep it in gmail.

    Plus I do a fortnightly download via pop to Thunderbird which I then back up to an external hard drive.

  3. I'm in "Sector Six" lockdown right now.. Can't view attachments, but every other part of my GMail works just fine.

  4. So "Sector Six" lockdown = you can't download attachments (not even using your email client or if you forward the messages?)

    "Sector Four" lockdown = account disabled for 24 hours

    Is this correct?

  5. Also a victim of the "sector 6!" lockdown since early this morning. I can read, receive, and send e-mail. Can't seem to retrieve or attach files.

    I Use IE6 in XP, don't use any toolbars or scripts. Never used anything that links to or utilizes GMail other than GoogleTalk.

  6. I am locked out right now as well as a coworker. We use the google hosted email service so it is our domain name on google servers. They have several reason listed for why this would happen. the problem is we didn't do any of those things. Very annoying.

    I hope they get us going again quickly this is very frustrating

  7. I have only just been locked out, it would appear. I was looking at an attachment at 13.15 local time and when I tried to open the next mail attachment, I suddenly found myself confronted with a sector 6 error... Sounds like something from Startrek.

  8. Its been 3 days now since I encountered the first 'lockdown in sector 6'. I'm not able to download any attachments, nor can I forward emails containing those attachments to another account.
    I do hope I get my account back soon.

  9. Sector 6 here too. Is this one of those cases where the medicine is worse than the illness? I'd rather have my junk mail fill up than not be able to handle attachments.

  10. I originally thought it was my accidental over-use of the pop server, as i was transferring files from outlook to Thunderbird and got a few too many redundancies. After reading this, I really hope that mine was one of them and that it gets re-enabled quickly (as I have numerous other accounts set to auto-forward into my account). This situation is very frustrating!!!

    Furthermore, I can't even post this under my google account name as the account seems totally frozen. ARGH!

  11. Even i cant access my account.
    I use google apps for my domain and when i go to the login page i get gmail is temporarily out of service. I am not even getting a lockdown msg :(

  12. using GMail for Domains (hosted service) and I have several users here that have the Lockdown in Sector 6 error. They are able to access (download or forward)some attachments without problem, others are inaccessible. This is extremely annoying. And I was just about to "upgrade" to the paid version. This has caused me to reconsider.

  13. i think this Sector 6 thing is a pain in the a$$.

  14. I've had the sector 6 lockdown for the past four hours. Can't download attachments and can't forward emails to another account. Frustrating to say the least.

  15. Sector 6, same here. I was able to send and receive the usual email attachments (nothing very large) until about an hour ago. Now I can't download an attachment, nor can I send or forward a file with an attachment either.

    Very frustrating, as this is a work Gmail account.

  16. Same Sector 6 deal. Two days not working right, and I am a REALTOR. If I can't get attachments, such as scanned legal documents, I am frozen. I can't forward the emails or reply to them. This is a nightmare. I trusted...and loved GMAIL......enough to use it as my work account. It is printed on every marketing piece that I have. Not good! Wish they could fix it as fast as they messed it up!

  17. I'm sectioned in Sector Six just after reporting an issue with Thunderbird and Google Mail. Suspicious? Oh yes.

    I really think that Google is trying to get rid of heavy-duty users. I use it to follow a large number of FOSS development and mailing lists and I also send and receive ocassional 2-3MB picture with my friends. My mailbox is just under 900MB at the moment - no wonder Google wants to get rid of me.

  18. One must remember that it is not allowed by the TOS to use thir Gmail accounts for work or business purposes


  19. Are we speaking of

    "2. Personal Use. The Service is made available to you for your personal use only."

    Don't think it would stand up in court. After all, this could be read as meaning, your unique personal use (rather than used by a group of people, eg spammers). The next line refers to the age limitations.

    It does not specifically ban business or work use, unless you can point that out more directly.

  20. In court? Are you kidding?

    << Gmail is a free, search-based email application from Google (the "Service"). You understand and agree that the Service may include content-targeted ads or other related information, as further described below and in the Gmail Privacy Policy. In addition, you understand and agree that the Service is provided on an AS IS and AS AVAILABLE basis. Google disclaims all responsibility and liability for the availability, timeliness, security or reliability of the Service. Google also reserves the right to modify, suspend or discontinue the Service with or without notice at any time and without any liability to you.>>

    From Gmail Terms

  21. Gmail is part of my life now.I know lot of people with this affection

  22. While this only happened to my personal account. We also use Google Domain Aps and am very scared at this point. I wonder if Microsoft has this shoot first policy....
    Anyway, Im totally locked out and had to post this form a different account.

  23. Wow, you people have some nerves. Would this happen to me I'd change the mail provider instead of hoping that Google restores my account soon.

  24. I am glad I did a search and found this forum. I got locked out of my gmail account on Friday at around 11. No contact to google has worked and I'm still locked out.

    Thank heavens it is the gmail account I use for comment notification from my blog and not too much else. I also had forwarding to my Windows Live Mail which I use for all my main communication, but I had been deleting items that had been going to gmail. Though I have set up another gmail account for the same purpose (blog related) I will never trust gmail again.

    For all their "we are masters of the universe" talk, their customer service is non-existent and they seem to have no concern at all. I feel sorry for people who really rely on gmail...

    Can't understand how people would use a free email - google or hotmail for work purposes though why would they not use a POP. :-)

  25. After many months of trouble free downloading same way, same software, same volume, etc I've had the 24 hour lockdown each day for the past 7 days. I wait 24 hours, access is restored, I try to continue the download but get zapped again within minutes. Each time I report it to Google, each day the lockdown re-occurs, each day Google ignore my pleas for help.

    I'd feel better if Google were to advise there is a problem and one they are still trying to fix. What frustrates me most is them seeming to just ignore the problem. I thought Google were better than Yahoo. Looks like now they are worse. Or have Yahoo got staff working undercover at Google to secretly stuff things up!

  26. It does say Beta, what have we learned about all betas??

  27. Ionut.alex etc.

    Actually, the term "hold up in court" is also a colloquial expression, which means "it would not stand scrutiny".

    In other words, the previous poster suggested that using Google for business use was against the TOS. I noted that the only specific proviso against seemed to be the wording about personal use.

    It does not specifically say, "Do not use for business. Do not use for mission critical email." It implies instead that, when you sign up, you and you alone are using the email ... rather than sharing it with a bunch of people, or bundling a bunch of emails for spam purposes.

    Would it hold up in court? Meaning, literally, if someone wanted to rake them over the coals for some reason or another... would that boilerplate cover Google's butt? No. Not necessarily. Businesses get caught all the time writing "arbitration clauses" and other boilerplate that doesn't hold up legally.

    As for the comments regarding people not using this for their main email, for business, etc. Luckily, I can afford POP service and my own domain. But not everyone has the opportunity or the time to. Not everyone knows to surf in and find a blog like Google Operating System (I didn't find it until three days into my lack of access).
    You want people to use it more effectively, then educate, rather than attempt to shame people for their mistakes. We're not talking Casey Serin here.

  28. I have been locked out of my gmail account for the second time this year - I was given no good reason last time and nothing resembling personal contact.

    It is coming up for 24 hours. Does anyone really have such a split life that they would never use their personal account for business related matters. (The business argument is an obvious fallacy. My account has been disabled due to mismanagement.)

    In a ridiculous Catch 22 situation I would have to open up another email account as my back-up account as I cannot create a new gmail account with my hotmail back-up!

    It's horrible being screwed by a faceless coproporate behemouth - however trendy and left wing they attempt to portray themselves.

    I have grown to really appreciate the deisgn of Gmail - it is such a shame that I will have no choice but to move on. I would be an idiot not to.

  29. Why does someone always bring up legal action for every glitch?

  30. My account is now disabled, no clue why?

    Is it time to stay AWAY from GMail ?

  31. My account has just been disabled. No reason provided other that I may have "violated the T&Cs" which is the standard explanation given on their help page.
    I've checked my emails today and there was suspecting or dodgy mail received on the account.
    Have you guys managed to get a reply from google regarding this?

  32. My account is disabled from the past one month and despite of sending dozens of mail, i havent heard from gmail team.This is really annoying. Earlier i used to be a gmail fan but no more.... i will suggest people not to store official mails or importnat documents in gmail bcause you never know when they will disable your account. Gmail really sucks....

  33. well let me be honest, I run a popular newsletter under the pen name of Imtruth and use Gmail for sending my ne-newsletters. Two my ids imtruth13 and imtruth17 have been disabled.

    and well i have sent my password, verification code, security question and numerous request to re-activate it, and if in case they cant re-activate, at least send me my contacts list.

    But its like the proverbial "to no avail". what is worse, there is no reply from gmail support to the secondary email ids which are non-google email ids. not even a automated acknowledgement.

    well this re-affirms the fact that no one service in net shud be allowed to dominate the net, whether it is MS/IE, Google, Wikipedia etc.

    Web 2 requires a new look and a new standard. I am for once disappointed by Google.


  34. I have this question in mind but I can't find the proper person to contact to. Is opening two or more Google Accounts (or GMail accounts) legal? Is it not againts their TOS?

  35. Yes, it's OK to open as many Gmail/Google accounts as you want. Gmail's TOS and policies mentions something about this, but many people don't understand some simple English text. Here's a relevant quote from Gmail Program Policies:

    "Users may not... create multiple user accounts in connection with any violation of the Agreement or create user accounts by automated means or under false or fraudulent pretenses." (my emphasis)

    Basically that text discourages people that create multiple accounts to send spam.

  36. My gmail account has been frozen, and as far as I know, I did nothing wrong. I am hitting a brick wall with Google GMail.
    They won't respond to my e-mails, etc... . Not only has my GMail account been frozen, but so has my Picasa, Blogger/Blogspot account, Calendar, Bookmarks, and Google Checkout.

  37. It is so much painful when we get shocking message like "your account has been disabled". I am not able to access anything at all.

  38. Dear,

    Yesterday I received an interesting email from one of my brothers and forwarded it to everybody on my contact list (about 700 people) and my account was disabled. How do I proceed to have it enabled back?

  39. I think it just has added one more good point to the list: "why I am not going to use Gmail..."

    The bottom line: I OWN my emails not Google nor any other third party!

  40. Both me and my husband have had our accounts deactivated an hour ago - what the heck?! I have no clue why.

    I´m really confused now, will I get my account back? I have a blog that I can´t update and email I can´t access and I´m incredible frustrated!

    Is this their idea of service?? There´s not even a way to get through to them and when we try to do what they say we should do in this situation, it doesn´t work.

    IDIOTS! :-(

  41. My gmail account has been disabled since today morning. With no reason forthcoming from Google.

    I had detected some weeks back that my mail had been spoofed and was being used to send spam... but I had reported this to Google. In spite of this my account has been disabled.

    Anyone with any suggestions?

  42. Same problem here!

    Disabled yesterday (April 16, 2008).

    Mail has been spoofed and used by spammers for months now.

    And Google support says their analysis is "inconclusive", so they "can't provide you with access to this Google Account".
    This includes Gmail, Google Groups, Picasa and Orkut!
    All my invites are disbaled too!

  43. Can some one tell me how to get my Gmail account unlocked? I have had no luck withemailing them and I use it for business. Is there a number to call? i am desperate?

  44. I have also been locked out of my account in the last few days. I reported it to google and they say it was "inconclusive" and disabled the account.

    I really need the username back!

  45. Weird I got disabled this morning. Never used it for spamming and I rely on it for my googlecheckout account and EBAY!

  46. Weirder still a half hour later I was back up. No explanation, just got this from Google:


    Thanks for your report. We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience.
    For your security, we may temporarily disable access to your account if
    our system detects abnormal usage. It will take between one minute and 24
    hours for you to regain access, depending on the behavior our system

    Abnormal usage includes, but is not limited to:

    - Receiving, deleting, or popping out large amounts of mail (via POP) in a
    short period of time
    - Sending a large number of undeliverable messages (messages that bounce
    - Using third party file-sharing or storing software, or software that
    automatically logs in to your account and that is not supported by Gmail
    - Multiple instances of your Gmail account opened
    - Browser-related issues. Please note that if you find your browser
    continually reloading while attempting to access your inbox, it is likely
    a browser issue, and it may be necessary to clear your browser's cache and

    If you feel that access should not have been disabled, please visit for
    troubleshooting tips.

    The Google Team

  47. That's somewhat frightening, as...

    "Abnormal usage includes, but is not limited to:
    - Receiving, deleting, or popping out large amounts of mail (via POP) in a
    short period of time[...]"

    ... Whilst Gmail Help Center at suggests to do exactly that:

    Backing up your mail with POP

    Here's how to download a copy of every message* in Gmail to an mail client:
    1. Sign in to Gmail.
    2. Click Settings at the top of any Gmail page, and open the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
    3. Select Enable POP for all mail (even mail that's already been downloaded).
    4. Click Save Changes.
    5. Open the mail client you've configured for Gmail, and check for new messages.

    Gmail messages are downloaded in batches, so it may take time for everything to appear in your mail client


  49. Just had an exact repeat episode…account disabled. I my case its because there was a security issue with Google Checkout…the worthless redundant buying service that I signed up for to get 10% off some gear. What a fool. The Googlesphere is inherently evil and here’s why. They promote trust that lures users with awesome free cloud computing service. I foolishly trusted Google and used Gmail, Docs, and Picassa to safeguard my data. Now, because of some BS Checkout problem, they’ve locked me away from my data. IMAP made the situation far worse, since I now have lost 3-years worth of email data. INSANE. I blasted the cheerleaders at Lifehacker who promote all things Google. I suggest that anyone who suffers a similar fate do the same. The word needs to get out that Google can’t be trusted.

  50. Hmm... my account was just disabled today. What a bloody pain. Hope it doesn't take them 7 days to fix it...!

  51. Even my account was disabled during same time (12/26/08). Never used it for anything which violates TOS. No idea why they disabled it... This is totally frustrating. Filled several forms at several google help pages, nothing yet. All they say is cannot verify the account. I have lost all my contacts all my networks, emails everything.

  52. Help Me My google gmail account yousaf2k is disabled and i am unable to login i contacted many times in 2 weeks to google via the error link displayed on the login page. but i dont get any response from google.
    My all 4 years data is on gmail and i blindly rely on google. what a foolish step from my side to rely only on gmail, i dont even forwarded email account or backup. anyone please help me. i am shifted to yahoo much better company i underestimated it. my yahoo account is older then google but still working. yahoo account is 6 years old and google account is 4 years old. i never sent any spam email. i only get family and friends email. help me!!!!!

  53. a google approach to mail - giving you the finger when your account is locked down, talk to the hand. what happened to "do no evil"?

  54. well I've been trying to find my contacts for past 2 days,,,I've been sitting here for SO long,,, not only my bot hurts,,,i cant see any moor I've been everywhere you could think of,,,to find my contacts,,,NO Luck I'm getting sick & tired ,,,thy just disappeared??????? what A waist of time & aggravation deedee

  55. I can use my new account yesterday,But I can not log on to this account today. It show me account disable,I can log on nothing , I payed mobile number for verification code.Google sent me verification codes back from my secondary email account.But I can't verified it till now.How can I do it?Please ..........!!!!!

  56. You guys suck. My wife is naive to modern computing, and she _finally_ got the habit of using GMail. Then you locked down her account (, if you care), and the recovery system is too mysterious even for me - a software engineer.

  57. Jackasses locked my sons account last week for no reason and mine today!! Nothing in mine but recipes and communications to and from cooking sites I run and a book in progress!! His is communication about college grants and scholarships. His was temporary and was restored and mine says it is disabled, does not say temporary. I've filled out their ridiculous forms until I can't fill them out any more!! Absolutely NO TOS have been violated!!

  58. My GMAIL account was disabled and despite filling in the "disabled in error" form repeatedly in the last 21 days, you wont respond and you are not replying. I have not violated TOS. This is scary that you can just disable accounts and don't respond to users.

  59. Whenever I try to login, it say "Your account has been disabled" then it says that many accounts have been disabled. How long do I have to wait? My YT account has that Gmail. If my Gmail isn't working, neither is my YT account. I want it back as soon as possible!!

  60. I have the same problem. Please help me.

  61. Google is some scazy crapola. They also locked me out, I have one single E-mail account from them for years. Locked me out of YouTube as well, since they own it. They sent me a validation code to my home phone, but I have no clue as to where to put that in when I try to log into Gmail. Into the USERS NAME or into PASSWORD? If anyone knows, pls E-mail to:

    Meanwhile, it is high time to switch to an honest E-mail provider that is not a FASCIST BIG BROTHER, like what Google has apparently become. They are now the judge, jury, and executioner of us, the little people. Shame on these Internet charlatans.

  62. My gmail account has been disable for a week now, and their verification shit is not working either. God only knows when it will. I think they shouldn't claim of some shitty GBs of free space when one can't even access their account.

  63. My account has just been disabled. Any ideas on how to get it reinstated.

  64. Me too. Locked out of everything. I understand Google's position - tying to protect itself - but surely there's a better way.


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