Solving Common Problems
As with all things in life, you're going to find little gotchas. Here are a few of those and their solutions.
What the Heck Is a "Lockdown in Sector 4?"
If you have the misfortune to find that you can't access Gmail any longer, and now you get a web page that says there's been a "Lockdown in sector 4!" you were probably doing something that triggered alarms at Gmail. For instance, you may have been doing one of the following:
- Using a third-party program to access Gmail that didn't behave. In particular, software that turns Gmail into a file storage system can cause problems, as well as programs that repeatedly log in to Gmail.
- A huge amount of POP-based email activity (grabbing or deleting) in a short period of time.
- Sending lots of bounced, invalid email messages (often a sign of a spammer).
- Continuous failed attempts to access your Gmail account.
No matter what the cause, you have three choices:
- Wait a while. Usually within 24 hours your access is restored. During this time you can still grab your email via IMAP or POP with a desktop client (for more on that, check out the next chapter, which is all about that subject).
- Try to figure out what you were doing that may have caused the problem and disable or uninstall that program or activity.
- Follow the provided link to fill out a form and request that Google take a look at your problem.
Receiving a lockdown in sector 4 can be tremendously irritating. I should know because I've received one myself. But be patient, give it time, figure out what may have been causing it, and all should be restored soon enough.
How Do I Troubleshoot Gmail Problems?
If you're having trouble accessing Gmail at all—the page is blank, or it never finishes loading, for instance—first check your network connection. Make sure everything is working correctly when it comes to the Net.
If that all looks fine, then try the following, in no particular order:
- Clear your web browser's cache and cookies (you'd be surprised how often that fixes things).
- Open Gmail in its Basic HTML (in other words, nonfancy) view at http://mail.google.com/mail/h/. After that loads, try switching to the Standard View.
- Open Gmail in Mobile View at http://m.gmail.com.
- If Google says that it doesn't like your web browser, but there's no reason it shouldn't, you can always bypass the check that Gmail does to make sure your browser will work. Go to http://mail.google.com/gmail?nocheckbrowser and see if that displays.
- Finally, check out Gmail Known Issues at https://mail.google.com/support/bin/static.py?page=known_issues.cs&hl=en&topic=12878, which contains problems and solutions in the following categories: Logging In, Chat and Contacts, Composing and Reading Mail, and POP and IMAP.