Long story short - my brother died in a dirt bike accident last summer, and being the techy one in the family, I ended up with his laptop.
Its a Sony Vaio VGN-FZ340N. Oldish, but decent laptop. Downside is, he had a bios password on start up. I contacted Sony, they could care less as I'm not the original owner and I don't have the receipt. He never kept receipts, plus all his accounts are closed now, so I can't try to scrape together proof that way either. They wouldn't look up his records and let me send them a death certificate either. Oh, but I can send it in with $350 (which it's probably barely worth more than that) and they'll fix it. Very frustrating experience.
Anyway, I opened it up, disconnected the CMOS battery and left it for about an hour, put it all back together and it's still passworded. I can't find any info on whether it has a TPM, or other security chip. I tried the paper clip method to short every chip that looked like it could be a TPM. I think it was made around 2006-2007, had Sony implemented their nearly impossible to bypass security chips by then? Anyway, I'm leaving the CMOS battery out for 48 hours just to make sure everything is properly drained.
I tried the backdoors for Phoenix bios, phoenix, PHOENIX, CMOS, bios, BIOS, that sort of thing - nothing. I also tried a few I thought he might use - again nothing. Although after three wrong attempts and it gives me a key (xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx) to give to Sony to get a OneTime password. Which as I figured out, Song won't help.
Does anyone have any idea whether it has a TPM chip or not? Anything else I can try? If this 48 hour attempt to clear the CMOS doesn't work I'm out of ideas short of giving up and giving my nephew the hard drive and DVD drive as upgrades for his old laptop and maybe doing some projects with some of the other parts.
If you are required by Sony to produce proof of ownership, a note from the executor of his will (on headed paper) should help.
If you find yourself frustrated by dealing with Sony's call centre staff, I would write a letter to the CEO of the company locally explaining the sad circumstances, you might add that personal documents of sentimental value are on the computer as may well be the case if you need to deal with e-mail accounts etc.
Ahh sorry, I didn't notice the thread. Feel free to lock, delete, whatever.
Note from the executor - that's actually a really great idea. I really should have thought of that. Although I don't relish the idea of calling Sony again. Main thing is, I'm not sure if he even was the original owner or not. He worked at a used video game store that also took laptops, cellphones, tvs, etc. I know he had it when the series was still in production, but it could have just been a trade-in he bought, like most of his other electronics. I couldn't get them to see if they had any record of him, but I guess an executor's note would be worth a try.
Is it wrong to claim the laptop has sentimental value if I know the hard drive has been wiped? =) Letter to the CEO might work as a last resort.