Need Help!

I purchased a used PC a couple of years ago to use strictly for genealogy, but I don’t know the former owner’s PIN. and he can’t remember it. i have tried several tricks found on YouTube to get to the command line, but just can’t get in. Windows was factory installed, so I have no disks.

i would like to use this computer for my trial Linux run. Can I do this without be able to get into Windows? it has many ports including 2 USB, HDMI etc.

i apologize for being so ignorant about this. i used to be very good on computers, but it outran me!

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Hey @gmanena!

As long as secure boot isn’t active, you should not have to access Windows at all. You will only need access to the BIOS which will load before Windows does.

Hello @gmanena!
If the former owner had a Windows PIN, then it means he was running via a Microsoft account. He can use that to login to the system (if he’s nearby, physically) and give you access to the system. From there on, you can set a new PIN.

If that is not possible, then you can create a USB boot-capable thumb drive on any other computer and follow @SBHX 's instructions to boot from it. From there, you will be able to test run the Live version of Linux without having to install it (by selecting Try instead of install).

However, if you do wish to install Linux and have files on the Windows machine, I would recommend having an external drive. Once you boot from the USB and select Try, connect the external drive. Once you open your file manager (on Linux), you can go to Other Locations (the last selection on the left-side tab) and you will see the Windows drive. From there, you can open it, go to the Users folder and find the folder of the account you used to login. At that point you will see your folders, such as Documents, Pictures etc. Leave that file manager window open and middle-click on the file manager app icon again. This will open a new window. This time, open your external drive and drag and drop any files and/or folders to it from your Windows directory.

I hope this helps! :slight_smile:

Before you do anything RASH like wipe it, you said you were doing genealogy on the PC and you may want to save the data. IF you have another computer, you should be able to gain access to the HD using the second pc running linux to look at the drive and try to locate files you might wish to save. Keep that in mind before you simply wipe it out.

You can ALSO boot from a bootable thumbdrive with linux and access the drive as well, and copy any important genealogy files.

(On a side note, there is a genealogy program in LInux called gramps that reads in GED files and so forth)