Hi guys the company I work for gave me an awesome laptop but I don't want them to spy on my personal activities (they have lots of Spyware and security).

I am, however, able to boot from an external drive and the laptop has a thunderbolt 3 port. So it's perfect for booting externally with my personal HD.

I'm not sure how good corporate security has gotten but is there a way for them to spy on my activity if I am booting from my personal external HD? I saw a previous post that said it was possible if the firmware had been tampered by the company (yet extremely rare)... what would I have to look for in the bios to ensure that the company cannot spy on me when I’m booting from my personal external hard drive.

Also, if there's a way for them to spy on me from an external HD boot, I'm thinking of just buying an SSD and replacing mine with theirs whenever I want to use the laptop for personal use. If I replace their HD with mine, is there a way for them to know that I am swapping HDs?

I don't think they could spy on what I'm doing if I swap HDs but I'm wondering if they might get some sort of alert that I removed their SSD. Specially since they're big on protecting intellectual property, I don't want them to think that I'm taking out their SSD to clone it and try to decrypt it or something. Thanks in advance!

  • You are essentially asking on how to use work property for your own private use. While it is likely that they cannot spy on you if you boot from an external disk it might still be possible that they can detect that the system was booted from some external disk. IAnd physical tampering (i.e. replace internal disk) is even more likely to be detectable and is also usually hard to do on newer notebooks. I would recommend that you actually check their policy and in doubt ask if it is ok to use the work laptop for personal use this way. Otherwise you might risk your job and is this really worth it? Sep 17, 2020 at 6:11
  • Thanks! So the company says that we can use things like FB on our laptops but I don't want them spying on me...thats why I rather boot from an external drive.
    – cr0cop
    Sep 18, 2020 at 1:09

1 Answer 1


Booting from an external drive (or media) is a standard technique in forensics to access the system without altering it. So in general it's undetectable by the existing system and isolated from it.

However forensic systems are designed not to mount or write other media it sees, where most OS systems will attempt to auto mount and write time stamps.

Realistically even an auto mount and time stamp write is not going to be of anymore significance than a power on/off cycle.

Whether it's appropriate for you to do this is a different question, but technically it's a solidly anonymous approach.

  • Thanks! I was worried because before posting this I had searched the site & found a post that said it was doable & that the BIOS would show if there was something there. Glad it's not possible & that the most they can do is get a TS. By the way, what did you mean by "whether it's appropriate"? Are you referring to whether it's appropriate because i might be breaking their policy by using a work device as a personal device? I don't think they have a problem with us using the work laptop for personal things...i see people at work on FB all the time, etc...just don't want them spying on me.
    – cr0cop
    Sep 18, 2020 at 14:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .