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This might be the wrong place to ask this, and if so please point me in the right direction. Anyway, a family member works at a public institution where laptops are provided to the staff, which includes them. They recently received a new laptop as their old one was quite sluggish. The workplace has directly stated that they have no use for used laptops, and therefore once a new system is given to a worker, the old one is now the property of said worker.

This family member knew that I could find a use for it, so they gave it to me. I plan to take out the old HDD running windows and replace it with an SSD running something like Ubuntu, but I'm slightly suspicious of low-level software such as the bios. We're not talking about an institution of national security or anything like that, and what the system is used for is not of high-level importance or clearance. But I do know that the workplace monitors workers' laptops and have remote access to them in order to solve any technical issues, and I'm wondering if they were potentially implemented on the bios level, rather than the application level. And theories?

TLDR: Could an old work laptop potentially allow access by the workplace through the bios or other low-level operations, even after the main drive is replaced?

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Absolutely. Some corporate systems come pre-installed with BIOS-level access that is not dependant on the hard drive at all.

Computrace by Absolute is one such example.

If you try to enter the BIOS, you should have an indication of whether that's true and what type is being used.

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  • I actually found Computrace in the bios and it was already disabled. Do you think that all potential spyware could be disabled through the bios, or could some be baked in deeper, past the point of user accessibility? If so, would a simple bios flash remove it? – Ancap Mar 7 at 0:46

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