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Thread: BIOS Passwords

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Adelaide, SA, Australia
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    BIOS Passwords

    I'm posting this question in the Hardware Forum because it seems appropriate to me, but I'm afraid it really should be posted in a "Wishful Thinking" Forum, if one existed.

    I've just discovered that my desktop computer, which I bought 2nd hand as a "bare bones" system about two and a half years ago, has an Administrator password on its BIOS! And I need to upgrade the BIOS. And I don't think I can contact the previous owner.

    I know there are applications that can "recover" lost or forgotten Windows passwords, so I'm just wondering if anyone knows of any program that can do a similar job with BIOS passwords?

    I suppose I'm doomed to be messing about with jumpers ...



  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    California & Arizona
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    Your best bet would be researching the motherboard for a detailed spec sheet and proceeding from there,
    instead of a generalized how too, to which there are many. (who's success can vary widely)

    You're right about the wishful thinking part, if the previous owner sold you a machine "as is", and hasn't cleared
    the BIOS/CMOS of the password he/she had previously set, it's likely he/she forgot it, hence the straight you're in now.
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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  3. #3
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    @ Noel

    Most modern motherboards have a backup copy of the BIOS stored in the CMOS chip. The CMOS chip also stores the BIOS settings, including any passwords set.

    Use the following steps to load the backup copy of the BIOS and reset the CMOS settings to defaults:

    1. Unplug the mains power cord from the power supply unit (leave the cord disconnected during steps 2. through 4.).

    2. Remove the CMOS battery from the motherboard (almost always a 3v CR-2032 Lithium cell).

    3. Use a suitable screwdriver (or some other suitable metal object) to short out the +/- contacts in the CMOS battery holder.

    4. While the +/- contacts are shorted, press and release the PCs power-on switch 8 to 10 times (uses residual power stored in the motherboard's capacitors to force the motherboard to load the backup copy of the BIOS and resets the CMOS settings to defaults).

    5. Refit the CMOS battery and plug the mains power cord back in to the power supply unit.

    6. Power on.

    You should now be able to access the BIOS settings, and upgrade the BIOS without having to enter a password.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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  5. #4
    5 Star Lounger
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    Some laptops do a really good job of protecting the password from hacks (notably some Toshiba models with non-volatile storage). Good luck.

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