Someone who signed up on our website was having trouble logging into her account (made via joining membership). I went to manually reset a login for her, and found out that her email address was already being used for a different contact account we had on file (made from joining a mailing list). To fix this, I deleted the latter contact account, so that only her membership one would exist. I then tried to create a login for this account, but every time I do so it says her email address is already registered still, even though I deleted the previous contact file linked to that email address and can no longer find it. Whenever I search for another contact under her name nothing shows up except for the membership one, which is the one I am trying to edit, so I don't know how to access (and DELETE!) this supposed second account that keeps on interfering with her membership one. every time I try to reset her login information it says her email address is already registered still, even though I deleted the previous contact file linked to that email address and can no longer find it. see here that i cannot create a login for her to access her account

  • 1
    This is a good question. To give a good answer, we'll need a little bit more information. Could you please edit your post to include your CiviCRM version number, which CMS software you're using with version number (e.g. Wordpress 4.2.2, Drupal 7.37) Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 17:35
  • Sofia, you really do need to provide information on which CMS software you are using as you problem is with the CMS login.
    – JoAnne
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 11:34
  • Ah my apologies! We are using Drupal 7.53, and CiviCRM 4.6.24
    – Sofia
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 20:11
  • Thanks for updating with the CMS and version! That's enough info to post an answer. Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 20:31

2 Answers 2


When you check availability, it's actually not looking at CiviCRM - it's looking in Drupal. If you're a coder, you can read the code here. Based on this, it seems like you need to delete the Drupal user, not the CiviCRM contact.

To fix:

  • Go to CiviCRM menu » Hide menu to view the Drupal menu (see screenshot).

enter image description here

  • Your Drupal menu may vary based on the installed extension, but you'll likely have a "People" menu:

enter image description here

From here, you can delete the Drupal user. Instructions can be found here.

Note that if you create a new Drupal contact with the same email address as a CiviCRM contact's primary contact, the link between the two will be regenerated! So you should never have to delete the CiviCRM contact in this instance.


It sounds like the "deleted" contact record has gone into trash. You may be able to find it by doing an advanced search in contacts, making sure that you tick the "Search in Trash" box. You can delete it from the trash box.

As an alternative, you could restore the record from the trash box and then merge the two records, thereby ending up with only one.

  • 1
    I don't think this is correct - while answering another question yesterday, I learned that the uf_match record for a contact is deleted when a contact is moved to the trash (a little scary!). So your answer SHOULD be correct, but at least on the latest version of Civi, it's not. Also, I think the "check availability" function checks the CMS? Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 17:34
  • OK, now I think I REALLY messed up. I had no idea there even was a trash / never thought to search in it so this is great to know! But now after I found her second record in the trash, I hit "Delete Permanently" so that it would in theory delete the duplicate. After deleting permanently, I'm still getting the error in the picture above that her email is already registered! I realize now I should have done the second suggestion (restore & merge) but fear its too late as now I can't locate it in the trash either... should I just recreate her account manually from scratch... ?
    – Sofia
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 20:20

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