If you're going to load a different operating system, do you really need to access Windows at all? Why not simply wipe the drive with something like Dban, then install Linux? Of course, knowing the actual model number of the HP machine might help but many of those older HPs used F1 or F2 to access the BIOS.(Sometimes "Esc, or the "Delete" key were used also.) Start pressing the correct access key immediately upon startup, no waiting.
Hope this helps.
I have an old HP machine and when I turn it on it does not indicate that
windows is loading or even give me the option of pressing ESC or F10 to
get to the BIOS. It goes straight to the desktop but I can't see the
Start Menu or access programs. If I hit Ctrl, Alt, Delete, nothing happens. Any thoughts as to how I could get to the BIOS? I'd like to load LINUX on it, probably SUSE since it's an older machine.