Howto: Change a user's email when they can't access the email account and forgot password

Our site was created from an import of a preexisting system. Some of the user account definitions had historical email addresses which the users can no longer access (on the old system they just kept logging in with a username and password - the email was only used for a password reset).


All you need to do is go to the user’s preferences as if you were that user, and … change their email by clicking or tapping the edit button next to the email.


For a normal user, the only email address that has to be verified is the NEW email address, so this should work fine.

Note that we also provide hints in the reset password dialog that users need to find a way to contact staff if they’ve truly lost access to their original email address:

Pressing the help button results in this dialog:

The “our helpful staff” link goes to the /about page for your site; it’s on you as the site owner to offer contact info on that page (either a website URL with a contact form, or an email address) via your site settings.

:warning: For staff (admins / mods), both OLD and NEW emails must be verified for security reasons. If a staff member has lost control of their old email, you’ll need to temporarily remove their admin / mod privileges before resetting their email, in the exact same way as above.


On my instance I have several users that no longer can access their email boxes and asked me to change their email address to a new one, however, when from the admin panel I’m trying to change their email address the discourse sends two emails to their old address (one for forgot_password and one for notify_old_email). They can’t access their old email box so how can I change their email address if they can’t verify their old email address?

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Are these users admins / moderators? Because the rules are different for admins / mods. If they are normal users, changing the email should send the confirmation to the new email address only.

edit: as confirmed by @tshenry, there are indeed bugs in this area now. I also confirmed it: when you modify the user’s email, the “password reset” and “your email address has changed” emails are both sent to the old email address. :confounded:

That’s a regression we need to fix. I think @martin was going to take a look?


Per Changing a user's email I will put this to the top of my list to fix this week.


This is fixed now, please see Changing a user's email