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Solved: Mobo replacement

Discussion in 'General Security' started by Dre0745, Feb 9, 2010.

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  1. Dre0745

    Dre0745 Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
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    Hi,
    recently I took my laptop to repair (as I had a warranty with bestbuy).
    The problem was that the motheboard had died and I could no longer turn on the computer.
    All the files stayed in the laptop which had winXP with a password for entry.

    When they returned the laptop, the logging had dissapeared as they had eliminated the password.
    I was wondering, why would they need to access my account (which was an admin account with my nickname) after reinstalling an identical motherboard.

    Thank you for any replies!

    Dre0745
     
  2. Elvandil

    Elvandil

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    51,988
    XP had to be installed to the new board. Even if "identical", it had different ID and was not the same board.

    I'm sure they also wanted to be sure it was working correctly.

    The board may have needed to be "tattooed", too, so that the OEM copy of Windows would accept it.
     
  3. helpful

    helpful

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Messages:
    697
    There are tools on the internet that bypass/reset windows log on passwords. I am not sure what there motives were, it is possible that repair shop logged into your account to verify the new motherboard was working properly.

    If you have senstive information on your laptop you should employ encryption to protect the information stored on your laptop. My suggestion is to go with a disk based solution such as Vista/Windows 7 built-in Bit locker or a third party software solution such as SecureDoc.
     
  4. Dre0745

    Dre0745 Thread Starter

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    Jun 24, 2004
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    Hi.
    Thanks for the replies.

    Elvandil, sorry to ask but I am curious. How is a motherboard 'tattooed'? What needs to be done for that to happen?

    And how would they make sure it works poperly from inside the account?

    Thanks again

    dre0745
     
  5. antimoth

    antimoth

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Messages:
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    When you switch motherboards and use the same drive with the existing OS, XP considers it a new Windows install because it sees a different motherboard serial number. It will ask you for the 20 character authentication code after the first boot. If you don't enter the right one, Windows shuts down after 30 days.

    So the service guy needs to boot your PC to test the new install and also to enter the code, because you probably don't want to do that and you may have lost the code anyway.

    He needs to bypass your login password to get into your PC. There are tools that will clear it to let that happen. That's why it's blank. Then he has to get the 20 character code out of the registry. Tools exist for that too.

    Some techs do look thru your drive. If you have sensitive passwords stored, always a bad thing, it is a good idea to change them.
     
  6. Dre0745

    Dre0745 Thread Starter

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    Thank you very much for all your answers!
    Greatly appreciated.
     
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