If an employee's laptop is taken back from him/her for purposes of investigation, can the IT department/team that is in charge of issuing laptops etc. log into the employee's network account on this laptop on their own or does the employee need to provide his/her credentials

  • We don't have enough information to answer this question. Dec 4, 2018 at 6:15
  • sorry for not being clear, an example is if the IT team will like to: see the employee's files on the local desktop ,access the employee's outlook emails
    – omega
    Dec 4, 2018 at 6:18
  • I believe that in most countries all data on that laptop belongs to the company, and if you have private data on there, you most likely broke some company policy.
    – MPS
    Dec 5, 2018 at 23:57

2 Answers 2


This question is not actually specific enough to answer definitively.

Are you asking if they will be able to login to Windows on the computer using a domain account? (Yes, they can just reset your password)

Are you asking if they can access information contained on the laptop? (Also yes, unless there was encryption that you configured and only know the password to).

Are you asking about some other "network account"? (Still probably yes, businesses like to be able to manage employee access to products like this, which often involves resetting passwords)

  • Thanks, sorry for not being clear. Example is if the IT team will like to: see the employee's files on the local desktop ,access the employee's outlook emails.
    – omega
    Dec 4, 2018 at 6:16
  • 1
    @omega In this case they would probably just access the hard drive directly by booting a Linux cd or plugging the hdd into another computer. There are ways to use encryption to make this more difficult, but unless you set it up clandestinely it is safe to assume that the IT department has some mode of access. Dec 4, 2018 at 6:19
  • @omega Regarding reading emails in Outlook, it really depends on how it is hosted. Most likely they can read the emails by changing the account password and logging in on a different machine. It is also possible to configure an email server to just keep copies of all mail somewhere else so it can never be deleted... depends on the industry. Dec 4, 2018 at 6:22
  • thanks. I initially guessed that IT would be able to log in the same way as an employee , because since the employee can routinely forget his/her login credentials and IT will reset it for them when this happens, thus IT can just reset it at any point in time if they need to login.
    – omega
    Dec 4, 2018 at 6:23
  • @omega That is a detail you are a bit vague on. If the organization is using a Windows domain your password can easily be reset on the domain machine. If they have a local admin account on the machine they can use it to reset the employee password and log in too. The naughty employee could prevent this by quitting the domain and deleting any other admin accounts... but that would be a false sense of security. Dec 4, 2018 at 6:26

As stated, for 'purposes of investigation' would indicate that anything and everything done on the employer-owned device will be thoroughly investigated. The IT dept. will be able to reset your password and gain access, or, depending on the level of investigation use forensics tools or a forensic company to gain the information they seek.

  • What is the employee uses Bitlocker or some equivalent (which moat companies set up for extra security) which needs a password before the standard windows login?
    – omega
    Dec 6, 2018 at 0:50

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