4 Can I access a deceased family members PC without knowing the password?

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4 Can I access a deceased family members PC without knowing the password?

Forgive me if this isn’t allowed here. A few days ago my girlfriends brother hanged himself after a long battle with depression.

He was a very private person who didn’t interact well with others. Subsequently he didn’t leave behind a note. The one thing he spent all his time doing was sat in front of his PC.

The rest of my girlfriends family are keen to leave the PC alone. Mainly because they fear what they may find. I however, feel detached enough to try and find a way to gain access to it and look through web history and documents to see if there is anything that might be useful.
Please remove this if it’s against any rules. I’m just trying to provide some form of closure to her family.
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macnoyd's picture
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It's not against the rules

It's not against the rules that I'm aware of.
It makes a difference with operating systems, so be aware.
Assuming you are running Windows 10 Pro, (I am unsure of others) you can remove the hard drive from his old computer and obtain an appropriate USB adapter/ power supply for your particular Hard Drive type. From there, you can literally take ownership of the content. The only thing that would stop this is if bitlocker were activated on the hard drive. Most folks don't activate this (as a private user) unless they had high security in mind. You won't know this until you try it.

If you have the USB adapter all set up and you plug in the drive to your USP port on your computer, if windows does NOT recognize it as a volume, it will ask that you format the drive. It would be at this stage that you promptly remove the drive from your PC and consider the drive locked out. (bitlocked) In other words, do NOT format the drive.
With the USB adapter, you can read literally any part of the drive, but windows may likely ask that you "take ownership" of the content. This will not change the content, but it will change the owner of the file.

That's a starter suggestion. I wish you luck & very sorry for your loss.

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Backup FIRST !

Befor attempting any access to the harddisk it is mandatory to first copy the image of the harddisk to a second harddrive. in that case you still have the original drive if things go wrong.
second when the copy image has been made its recommended to examine in read only mode the drive to detect the file system used at the drive. That will help to detect the operation systen used in that pc.
depending if it is linux, windows or OS from apple the opration system will force the selection how to make the attempt to access the drive.

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This is how you do it, easy
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