I have the Windows disks I made after buying this computer (new) and the sticker on the bottom of the laptop with the registered Windows number on it. Other than that, I don't know squat, i.e. if it is a BIOS password or not. A few months ago I added a start up password on the system even though nobody else really has access to this computer. It stays in my home. But I thought it might somehow make my computer safer from anybody trying to access it from the internet. I suppose if someone used some sort of keylogger on me, they could easily detect my password and change it. I did not know to make a password recovery disk.
I had this computer in the shop last summer due to a faulty HD. Even though the HD was covered by warranty, I had a hefty repair bill from the computer shop where I originally took it. I suppose I could take the computer back in but I really don't have that cash to spare. My reasoning about installing my own copy of Windows is that I'd like to be able to reinstall Windows if need be from a disk rather than the partition on the HD. That just doesn't seem like a good thing to me. Can't those files on the partition be hacked as well? Is anything safe on a computer from someone who really knows what they are doing (or has access to programs that will do the work for them)? I really like the idea of having a copy of the OS in a source that can't be tampered with.
If I take the computer into the shop, it will cost me about the same as buying a fresh copy of Windows.
I will try to access the computer at startup with F8 and F10 and see if it gets me anywhere and will report the results here, but I can't get to it today.
Thanks for the feedback.