Can't get past Bios/Boot screen on Gateway laptop! Please help!

By hemoore2 ·
I just went to start my Gateway laptop this morning after leaving it shut down and unplugged for the whole weekend. The first time I started it up, all of the lights came on and the fan started like normal but there was no display on the screen. I went online (on another computer) and found instructions for a hard reboot (I think). Basically, I unplugged it from its power source and battery, pressed the on button for about 30 seconds, then started the computer with just power, shut it down, inserted the battery, then restarted.

After all of that, the screen now works but I cannot get past the Gateway screen that tells me to press F10 for the boot menu or F2 for the BIOS menu. It does nothing when I press either of these.

I will admit that I am rather a novice when it comes to tech support so if someone could help me out in the simplest terms possible, I would appreciate it.


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All Answers

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Depends on how old this computer is

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Can't get past Bios/Boot ...

But if it has a few years on it it's most likely that the BIOS Battery has failed/Gone Flat and the BIOS has returned to defaults.

When the POST Screen appears that is the Gateway Screen Press and Hold down the F2 Key till you get the Blue BIOS Screen and then make sure to set the Date & Time at the very least.

Then save the changes as you exit the BIOS and see if it boots now. If it does you need to replace the BIOS Battery as per the Instruction Manual.

If it doesn't post back with what is happening.


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Reponse To Answer

by KellanGateway In reply to Depends on how old this c ...

HI I am having the same exact problem as you replied to above. My Gateway is old, I think I purchased it in 2005. I haven't used it in a couple years, I would just like to get everything off of it. The POST screen appears when I plug the laptop in but I cannot get any where after that. If I hold F2 it does nothing. If the BIOS battery has gone bad what can I do so that I can get into it to get all pictures/info off of it that I need? I would really appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you.

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Having same issue.

by sivar01 In reply to Can't get past Bios/Boot ...

Computer comes up, all you see is BIOS wallpaper (Gateway) Push F2, just says "please wait...", nothing ever happens. HDD light is on as well as power light. Gateway W340UI. Assuming it has a bad HDD, CD-drive, or Motherboard/CPU issues. Will try disconnecting HDD and CD to see if anything happens. Is there any known issues that are fixable here?

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Reponse To Answer

by sivar01 In reply to Having same issue.

Ended up finding a little USB camera card inserted that caused the system to freeze.

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by ilovedasun In reply to Can't get past Bios/Boot ...

I joined this tech page SPECIFICALLY to answer a question like this, because most tech forums are filled with answers from dweeb white guys who say they are expert techs, that take no consideration to the rest of the real world situations that an honest person may encounter when repairing / servicing laptops and used computers. First off. of course the dweeb white guys you call at Gateway willbe no help, Lets review: I have purchased USED laptops at flea markets before, and the encryption (bios password and HD password) is done when the company ORDERS the laptop from the manufacturer, thus making it impossible for data to be retrieved or stolen from the computer if it's stolen. The CMOS / BIOS battery, located indide the computer on the motherboard, is accessible, when you take that out and leave it out for say at least a half an hour you may or may not reset the bios to default, depending on the bios / cmos setup and the year of manufacture. That being saaid, the HD password from everything I have read is almost impossible to get rid of, I have had to change the hard drive and reset the BIOS on many of these computers , and its a 50-50 deal that it was originally stolen from the company or bought legitimately at an auction. AND of course there are hundreds of companies that say they will clear the password on the hard drive, using probably a similar software that is available as freeware on most tech sites and the hiren's magic boot CD, the ultimate boot CD, and others. I have yet to receive my gateway mt6451 laptop back from my tech guy who is helping me sole this; with the exact same problem, after running a Linux distro from the CD ROM and using the laptop to go online, i simply press enter when asked for a bios password, hold down the enter key, and boot from the CD/DVD ROM a universal boot CD or hirens or the ultimate boot CD. This gives me access to the computer and a shell of dos or any other program. but i have yet to crack the bios or the hard drive password, so I gave to my tech to attempt, if he is sucessfull I will replace the perfectly good 120 gb wd hard drive with a smaller one that i purchased used and HOPE that the bios dosent run the HD password after replacing /taking oiut the battery and resetting the bios, if it is indeed done that way and not permanently imbedded in the BIOS chip. This usually gets me smarmy holier- than-tho answers from techs that the laptop is probably stolen, when in fact the whole world is filled with laptops now from companies that discarded them that have this type of encryption, I mean, in reality; they COULD in fact be stolen; but more likely sold at auction or "aquired" somehow by someone who knew someone at the company; thus making a perfectly good laptop appear useless once it leaves the company. I for one dont believe this, I think there is a way around both problems, but welcome any answers from techs without additudes...The politics of repairing and helping people with used computers is never pointed out by tech people, and they usually have no clue what it is like to live in the real world, where we have a ton of used and obsolete jink that gets traded every day... this means nothing to me...I see something broke I want to fix it... I want to fix the laptop...and being a flea market guy who buys and sells laptops and deals with techs of all levels, i can tell you this problem is all over the place now that the average used laptop is available on cracig's list for $50-100

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Reponse To Answer

by netsecuritypro In reply to BIOS RESETTING ON USED GA ...

I agree with this post- remove laptop battery, disconnect cmos battery and that should reset the bios. If you are still having issues you need to disconnect the HD and restart the comp so it forces the bios to load. From there you can reset the bios to your chosen settings. BTW I am one of those dweeb white guys with A+, Net+ and BS in Information Systems Security.

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bios and hard drine password protection on gteway mt6451

by ilovedasun In reply to Can't get past Bios/Boot ...

heres more from another forum, semi answered a lot of questions, but still depends on boios/ make of motherboard
In the event the manufacturer cannot (or will not) help you, there are a number of methods that can be used to bypass or reset the BIOS password yourself. They include:

Using a manufacturers backdoor password to access the BIOS
Use password cracking software
Reset the CMOS using the jumpers or solder beads.
Removing the CMOS battery for at least 10 minutes
Overloading the keyboard buffer
Using a professional service

Please remember that most BIOS passwords do not protect the hard drive, so if you need to recover the data, simply remove the hard drive and install it in an identical system, or configure it as a slave drive in an existing system. The exception to this are laptops, especially IBM Thinkpads, which silently lock the hard drive if the supervisor password is enabled. If the supervisor password is reset without resetting the and hard drive as well, you will be unable to access the data on the drive.

Backdoor passwords

Many BIOS manufacturers have provided backdoor passwords that can be used to access the BIOS setup in the event you have lost your password. These passwords are case sensitive, so you may wish to try a variety of combinations. Keep in mind that the key associated to "_" in the US keyboard corresponds to "?" in some European keyboards. Laptops typically have better BIOS security than desktop systems, and we are not aware of any backdoor passwords that will work with name brand laptops.

WARNING: Some BIOS configurations will lock you out of the system completely if you type in an incorrect password more than 3 times. Read your manufacturers documentation for the BIOS setting before you begin typing in passwords

Award BIOS backdoor passwords:
aLLY Condo PINT 01322222
ALLY d8on pint 589589
aPAf djonet SER 589721
_award HLT SKY_FOX 595595
AWARD_SW J64 SYXZ 598598
AWARD?SW J256 syxz
AWARD SW J262 shift + syxz

AMI BIOS backdoor passwords:

PHOENIX BIOS backdoor passwords:


BIOSTAR lkwpeter
biostar setup
biosstar SETUP
cmos Wodj

Manufacturer Password
VOBIS & IBM merlin
Dell Dell
Biostar Biostar
Compaq Compaq
Enox xo11nE
Epox central
Freetech Posterie
IWill iwill
Jetway spooml
Packard Bell bell9
Siemens SKY_FOX
Toshiba Toshiba


Most Toshiba laptops and some desktop systems will bypass the BIOS password if the left shift key is held down during boot


Press both mouse buttons repeatedly during the boot

Password cracking software

The following software can be used to either crack or reset the BIOS on many chipsets. If your PC is locked with a BIOS administrator password that will not allow access to the floppy drive, these utilities may not work. Also, since these utilities do not come from the manufacturer, use them cautiously and at your own risk.

Cmos password recovery tools 3.1

Using the Motherboard "Clear CMOS" Jumper or Dipswitch settings

Many motherboards feature a set of jumpers or dipswitches that will clear the CMOS and wipe all of the custom settings including BIOS passwords. The locations of these jumpers / dipswitches will vary depending on the motherboard manufacturer and ideally you should always refer to the motherboard or computer manufacturer's documentation. If the documentation is unavailable, the jumpers/dipswitches can sometimes be found along the edge of the motherboard, next to the CMOS battery, or near the processor. Some manufacturers may label the jumper / dipswitch CLEAR - CLEAR CMOS - CLR - CLRPWD - PASSWD - PASSWORD - PWD. On laptop computers, the dipswitches are usually found under the keyboard or within a compartment at the bottom of the laptop.

Please remember to unplug your PC and use a grounding strip before reaching into your PC and touching the motherboard. Once you locate and rest the jumper switches, turn the computer on and check if the password has been cleared. If it has, turn the computer off and return the jumpers or dipswitches to its original position.

Removing the CMOS Battery

The CMOS settings on most systems are buffered by a small battery that is attached to the motherboard. (It looks like a small watch battery). If you unplug the PC and remove the battery for 10-15 minutes, the CMOS may reset itself and the password should be blank. (Along with any other machine specific settings, so be sure you are familiar with manually reconfiguring the BIOS settings before you do this.) Some manufacturers backup the power to the CMOS chipset by using a capacitor, so if your first attempt fails, leave the battery out (with the system unplugged) for at least 24 hours. Some batteries are actually soldered onto the motherboard making this task more difficult. Unsoldering the battery incorrectly may damage your motherboard and other components, so please don't attempt this if you are inexperienced. Another option may be to remove the CMOS chip from the motherboard for a period of time.

Note: Removing the battery to reset the CMOS will not work for all PC's, and almost all of the newer laptops store their BIOS passwords in a manner which does not require continuous power, so removing the CMOS battery may not work at all. IBM Thinkpad laptops lock the hard drive as well as the BIOS when the supervisor password is set. If you reset the BIOS password, but cannot reset the hard drive password, you may not be able to access the drive and it will remain locked, even if you place it in a new laptop. IBM Thinkpads have special jumper switches on the motherboard, and these should be used to reset the system.

Overloading the KeyBoard Buffer

On some older computer systems, you can force the CMOS to enter its setup screen on boot by overloading the keyboard buffer. This can be done by booting with the keyboard or mouse unattached to the systems, or on some systems by hitting the ESC key over 100 times in rapid succession.

Jumping the Solder Beads on the CMOS

It is also possible to reset the CMOS by connecting or "jumping" specific solder beads on the chipset. There are too many chipsets to do a breakdown of which points to jump on individual chipsets, and the location of these solder beads can vary by manufacturer, so please check your computer and motherboard documentation for details. This technique is not recommended for the inexperienced and should be only be used as a "last ditch" effort.

Using a professional service

If the manufacturer of the laptop or desktop PC can't or won't reset the BIOS password, you still have the option of using a professional service. Password Crackers, Inc., offers a variety of services for desktop and laptop computers for between $100 and $400. For most of these services, you'll need to provide some type of legitimate proof of ownership. This may be difficult if you've acquired the computer second hand or from an online auction.

Links to Motherboard Manufacturers

If you need additional documentation about your motherboard, location of jumpers / dipswitches, location of the battery, BIOS settings, etc., we've included links to most of the major motherboard manufacturers here.

2 the Max A-trend Elite Computer Systems Matsonic
Abit Epox Microstar American Megatrends
PC Chips Amptron Freetech QDI
Aopen Giga-Byte Fujitsu Siemens ASUS
IBM SuperMicro Biostar Intel
Tyan Chaintech

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