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Recently, my husband found a laptop in an apartment (he does maintenance and this person left behind all kinds of electronics). The laptop works, but it has ubuntu installed and its asking for a password. How can I either bypass the password or install a new operating system?


Sony Vaio model # PCG-71312L Was running Windows 8 from what I can tell but I think it was replaced with ubuntu. There is no option to boot the windows op system anymore.

  • why do you want to bypass the password...? – DJCrashdummy Jul 12 '17 at 23:46
  • Someone left it in an empty apartment. It's useless to me right now bc I can't get past the password to use the laptop. – Haden McKee Jul 12 '17 at 23:50
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    @muru: i don't think so, since i guess unlock disk sda5_crypt from the first comment of the answer indicates a full disk encryption. – DJCrashdummy Jul 13 '17 at 1:19
  • @DJ Then askubuntu.com/q/133533/158442 and wipe the disk, I suppose. – muru Jul 13 '17 at 1:20
  • how about returning the laptop to his owner...? ;-) – DJCrashdummy Jul 13 '17 at 2:09
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You should be able to boot from a CD or bootable USB and install a new operating system (eg. Windows), unless the BIOS/UEFI is password protected.

  • I have a windows xp disc. It's definitely old, but wanted to try it anyway. It won't load it. It just takes me to the ubuntu screen and asks to please unlock disk sda5_crypt. I am not very tech savvy so I don't know how to navigate any of this. – Haden McKee Jul 13 '17 at 0:18
  • It would help to have some specifications on the laptop, a model no. – meetloaf_newb Jul 13 '17 at 0:32
  • After a quick check, you may try pressing the F2 key as the VAIO logo appears. Page 125 of the manual here: docs.sony.com/release//VPCEB1_series_EN_CA.pdf – meetloaf_newb Jul 13 '17 at 0:41
  • Ok. So that's a new screen I haven't seen before. What am I looking for here? – Haden McKee Jul 13 '17 at 0:48
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    Do not install Win XP. It hasn't had any security updates since Apr. 2015, and it would be extremely dangerous to use today – Android Dev Jul 13 '17 at 1:10
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just a brief summary of the steps to do:

  1. forget to bypass the "ubuntu-password"...! - you don't need to, if you don't want to read the stored data.

  2. create a bootable medium with an other pc: i would suggest a usb with a current lts-version of ubuntu or its derivatives; or if it has to be windows, take 7 or up (windows xp is likely not to work - beside the security-concerns)!

  3. go to the locked pc an attach/insert the bootable medium.

  4. try to access the BIOS/UEFI or at least choosing the boot-medium with pressing F2, F9, F10, F11, F12 or also DEL is used by some manufacturers, before booting right after pressing the power button.

--> if there is also a password needed to access the BIOS/UEFI (it looks different than the known ubuntu-prompt) it gets pretty complicated.

  1. in the BIOS/UEFI change the boot-order, save changes and exit; or if you entered a little menu for just selecting the boot-medium, choose the right one and your system will start your chosen OS.

  2. format the whole harddisk (btw: use GPT, not MBR like now) and install your OS.

  3. if you changed the boot order via "full BIOS/UEFI", i suggest to change it back to boot from the harddisk.

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