How do I recover data from an old laptop if I've forgotten the password? [Ask ZDNet]

Is there any way to retrieve the data before it’s lost for good?

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Welcome to the latest installment of Ask ZDNet, where we answer the questions that make Dear Abby’s eyes glaze over. 

In the mailbag this week: Some technical acrobatics that might help you recover data from a PC after you’ve forgotten the password. 

If you’ve got a question about any of the topics ZDNet covers, one of our team of editors and contributors probably has an answer. We’ll find an outside expert who can steer you in the right direction if they don’t. 

Questions can cover just about any topic that’s remotely related to work and technology, including PCs and Macs, mobile devices, security and privacy, social media, home office gear, consumer electronics, business etiquette, financial advice… well, you get the idea. 

Send your questions to Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t guarantee a personal reply, but we do promise to read every letter and respond right here to the ones that we think our readers will care about. 

Ask away. 

How do I recover data from an old laptop if I’ve forgotten the password? My elderly Windows laptop (about 8 or 9 years

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