Processors

DIY: How to reset a BIOS password

Jack Wallen offers a TechRepublic member advice about a tricky problem: resetting a BIOS password on a machine.

Read my answer to TechRepublic member Jim McGrath's question, and then please post any additional tips you have for the member in the discussion.

Q: How do you reset a BIOS password on a machine? A: This one is tricky. If the password was set by the manufacturer, I recommend looking up the BIOS manufacturer to see if they use a standard password. For example, the Award BIOS can sometimes use such default passwords as:

AWARD SW, AWARD_SW, Award SW, AWARD PW, _award, awkward, J64, j256, j262, j332, j322, 01322222, 589589, 589721, 595595, 598598, HLT, SER, SKY_FOX, aLLy, aLLY, Condo, CONCAT, TTPTHA, aPAf, HLT, KDD, ZBAAACA, ZAAADA, ZJAAADC

In this case, the best thing to do is to Google your BIOS and see if there are default passwords set.

If, however, someone set the password and forgot the said password, the task is a bit more challenging. To get around this, the BIOS must be reflashed. There are two ways to do this: via software or via hardware. The software reflash can only be done if you have access to the running computer (as in, you are logged into the machine). If you do not have access, then the hardware method must be used.

To flash a BIOS with software, I highly recommend you go to the BIOS manufacturer website, download its flashing tool, and use that tool. The MS DEBUG command can be used, but it's tricky and, should you fubar the BIOS, the machine could be bricked.

To use the hardware method of flashing a BIOS, a jumper on the motherboard must be changed. Here's the process:

  1. According to the schematics of your motherboard, locate the BIOS jumper. This will be a jumper with three pins and a jumper joining two of the three pins.
  2. With the computer turned Off, unplug the jumper.
  3. Plug the jumper into the central pin and the outside pin opposite of the pin it was originally plugged into (e.g., if the jumper was in position 1-2, put it in 2-3).
  4. Wait a couple of seconds.
  5. Return the jumper to its original position.
  6. Start the computer.

This should reset the BIOS to its original state, which hopefully means no password. Ask Jack: If you have a DIY question, email it to me, and I'll do my best to answer it. (Read guidelines about submitting DIY questions.)

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

8 comments
ilovedasun
ilovedasun

Its nice dealing with a tech who actually cares about people, and isn???t a walking encyclopedia???alos I hate dealing with IT people who don???t care, ones that don???t realize that years ago REAL PEOPLE with actual TALENT used to fix things, and help people, and had a concern for the environment, actually knew how to fix a relay in a ford f-150, and had some physics knowledge. And wasn???t a smarmy chirrazz drinking overpaid software thief with a two year degree in computer science who thought he was the SHIT because he had a mac that cost 5000 dollars when I was bulding computers when he wasn???t born yet, and helping people learn for FREE>>>He or she would hate the retrace, be helpful to do ???it- youyrselfers, and hate the power of corporations to dump garbage on the public, people who would never even consider using obsolete and un used perfectly good hardware that could benefit some people, just BECAUSE THEY COULD , thus depriving more deserving people who weren't BILLIONAIRES or GUYS WITH TWO YEAR DEGREES IN COMPUTER SCIENCE who cant even change thier own oil but get $45 an hour to give the wrong information. How about respomding with tech info to people who actually FIX computers and have a way of getting those computers into the hands of deseving people who DONT WORK FOR MINDLESS AND MORAL LESS CORPORATIONS .

waheed
waheed

This is very old Tip, i have used this tip 20 year ago, what about LapTop how we can reset :LapTop Bios password?

.Martin.
.Martin.

at first I thought this was spam... just I never thought I would see this as a blog post on TR. oh well, times have changed...

Xnzpcd
Xnzpcd

Which Computer? Is it a bios/cmos password? You can get help from these tutorials. How to Reset IBM ThinkPad T30 BIOS Password http://findpassword.net/how-to-reset-ibm-thinkpad-t30-bios-password/ Reset Toshiba Satellite BIOS Password http://findpassword.net/reset-toshiba-satellite-bios-password/ Reset HP / Dell BIOS Password http://findpassword.net/reset-hp-dell-bios-password/ Reset ACER Aspire 3610 BIOS Password ??? Only 8 Steps http://findpassword.net/reset-acer-aspire-3610-bios-password-only-8-steps/

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

OEMs used to often offer (and may still) a "Secure BIOS" for their Business PCs, depending on the model. IBM was an offender, as were Dell, HP, and Compaq. None of the usual tricks will work to clear this password, particularly since you can't flash the BIOS without the password. If Secure Mode is active, the BIOS password is saved to a non-volatile area on the BIOS chip. IBM used to claim that the only way to fix it was to replace the chip.

rahimhd
rahimhd

Modern laptop bios will not give up its password by flashing, pulling cmos battery (even if you leave it for a year!!). Why? Because the password is stored in non volatile area. Service center will charge you arm and leg for this simple password removal services. Ac*r for example will charge around $100 for removing lost password. So how to reset the password? Easy actually. Hunt down the elusive service manual and you will find the answer.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

Used to be that you could just unplug the computer and then remove the CMOS battery. The only way that the CMOS can hold user settings is if there is a constant charge applied. That is what the large battery on a the motherboard is for. It looks like a quarter. After all power sources have been removed from the motherboard the BIOS will no longer hold it's settings and should return to factory defaults. Unless this has changed it is the quick and easy way to reset the password.

seanferd
seanferd

Better security for stolen laptops and what. For some, I'll bet flashing the BIOS won't even help. Of course, we don't answer questions like these in the forum. I expect a few peers to say something, presuming they still care.

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