"It's not illegal to remove the password if he owns the machine."
It isn't , but most brand name system makers will only provide the info about how to remove the passwords if you're the original owner, and the rules of this web site forbid us from revealing illegal ways to remove passwords.
"We don't know whether or not the system is stolen so assuming it doesn't help anyone."
Legitimate former owners will usually remove passwords before they sell a computer. If the seller doesn't know what the system access or hard drive access password, then it's a lot more likely the computer was stolen, by the seller or by someone else the seller got it from, especially when it's a laptop or a netbook. If the seller claims they don't know or forgot their own password, or the person they got it from claims the same, you don't forget a password you have to use every time your use the computer, unless you have serious mental problems.
Is this a system access password - you can't even get into the bios Setup while booting -
- or - is it a hard drive access password - you CAN get into the bios Setup, but you can't access the hard drive ?
If it's a system access password, your mboard model may require you do something else as well.
Tell us the make and model of your brand name system, or if you have a generic desktop system, the make and model of the mboard.
The specific model of a brand name system is shown on a label on the outside of the case somewhere, or it can often be determined by going to the brand name's web site and loading a program they have available, if Windows is still working, on the subject computer.
For Dell computers, they have a Service Tag number - the specific model can be determined by using that on their site, or can often be determined there automatically by you downloading some software, if Windows is still working, on the subject computer. The Service Tag number should be on a label on the outside of the case, probably on the bottom on a laptop, on the back on a desktop, and is often also shown in the bios Setup.
The model, sometimes the make, of a mboard in a generic desktop system is usually printed on the mboard's surface in obvious larger characters, often between the slots.
If it's a hard drive access password, the hard drive may be protected by a software program, or your mboard model may require you do something else as well.
If it's protected by a software program, you should be able to delete the entire contents of the hard drive and be able to install Windows on it and access it
- OR - if the software program can be identified, which may be difficult, you MAY be able to do something to remove the password.