I think it is admirable that you want to use your computer skills to help a friend. Having said that, though, you could get into trouble with the police if they find out that you "hacked" into the computer. I seem to recall an article about someone loading tracking software on a computer and the person who was using the computer sued the man. He also got charged with illegal wiretapping or some related crime.
Tread lightly, you never know how paranoid the authorities might get.