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CMOS password

Posted on 2001-08-31
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Is there a way to bypass the CMOS password? I've forgotten my password and I wish to change a few settings but I can't.
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Question by:heuer
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by:tmj883
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Clear CMOS via jumpers, specific to your mainboard.T
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Otta earned 50 total points
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Or, remove the battery from the motherboard, and wait until the computer "forgets" the CMOS settings.

However, for a laptop, contact the manufacturer,
with "proof-of-purchase", and they will tell you
how to do it.
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by:joojant200
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by:pbessman
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That should do it the jumper you need to move is labeled as PSWD or JP9 on most motherboards.  Move it from pins 1 and 2 to pins two and three.  Good luck.
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by:RoadWarrior
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Don't move "JP9" without checking it IS the password disable or CMOS clear  jumper, with either your manual or some "big name: PCs have a quick reference guide label inside  the case cover,  there is no numbering standard for jumpers on motherboards, JP9 could quite well set your CPU voltage from 2.2V to 3.5V or something equally nasty.

Caution, write down your CMOS settings from the BIOS setup program as many jumpers will clear these as well as the password.

I just bought a junk laptop, the stupid (but highly convenient) password scheme in Setup allowed me to guess one letter at a time. It would throw the "bad password" error every time you pressed a wrong key, so it only took a little while before I had the first 3 letters and then guessed the rest. This was a Phoenix BIOS on a 486 laptop.

There's some default passwords that may work if you can't clear the thing.

regards,

Road Warrior
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by:RoadWarrior
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Heh, I guess I should say, copy your settings if you can see them, some setups allow you to look but not save without a PW some don't even let you get into setup without the PW.
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by:pbessman
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I was off a bit, JP9 is not a voltage setting but a clock selection.  Moving it from one pin to another while the computer is OFF would not cause any harm however, it wouldn't clear the password either.  If you do not have a manual, to be on the safe side simply remove the CMOS Battery for a minute or so and replace it.  That will definitely do the trick.


Of course the first bit of advice is to always "RTFM!  READ THE FINE MANUAL!"  If there is a jumper use it.



"JP9 could quite well set your CPU voltage from 2.2V
to 3.5V or something equally nasty."  And you know this how????  It is actually more often a multiplier than a Password clearing jumper.

"big name: PCs have a quick reference guide label inside  the case cover"  What like a TV set?  Where do you come up with this stuff? Have opened over a thousand computers in last year alone and can only recall that MACS had any such diagram.  Is that "big Name" to you?  
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by:pbessman
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heuer  do you know what motherboard you have?  Do you know who built the computer?  Here are various options from THE NET

"BTW rebooting with INSERT button held down may help as well.Turn off the PC. Hold down the {Insert} key and then turn the PC on and wait for it to boot. On some PCs, this will clear and reset the CMOS memory for you. (On most PCs it will not work, so don't be discouraged.)
Try the same thing with the {Delete} key. Again, it usually won't work.
Look in your motherboard or system documentation for any evidence of a CMOS clear jumper. This is a jumper on the motherboard that can be used to clear the CMOS memory; many newer motherboards have them. Follow the instructions for its use as described in the documentation; usually this means opening the PC, changing the jumper to a special setting, and then booting the PC. The CMOS memory will be cleared. Then you power the PC down and put the jumper back to its previous position. If it doesn't work properly when you try it, look here.
If you do not have a CMOS clear jumper, your next option is to try disconnecting the CMOS battery. This is easy to do if the battery on the motherboard is removable or user-replaceable. If you see on the motherboard what looks like a flat round wristwatch or calculator battery in a holder, that's it. Some older motherboards use batteries that sit off the motherboard and connect with a wire. If the battery can be disconnected, then disconnect or remove it. Wait for about two hours (you may need to vary the amount of time; if two hours isn't enough, try leaving it overnight) and then plug it back in, and the CMOS should be cleared and reset.
On some systems, the CMOS battery is integrated within the BIOS chip. You may have success with removing the chip for a few minutes and then replacing it. Just be very careful to take anti-static precautions.
Your motherboard may have a battery that is soldered to the motherboard. You may not see a battery on the motherboard at all; if this is the case then your motherboard probably uses a battery that is integrated into the real-time clock chip (or else, you weren't looking closely enough :^) ). Unfortunately, on a motherboard without a removable battery and with no CMOS clear jumper, clearing the CMOS memory is difficult to do. At this point you should contact your manufacturer for technical support.
There are basically two kinds of passwords: CMOS and various software keys. This article is limited to circumventing the CMOS variety. The author's purpose is to help the computer owner that has inadvertently lost or forgotten the password to their system. Another possibility is somebody being the victim of a disgruntled employee or some other malicious party. As a form of sabotage, a devious person will slap on a password.

With a PS2 system, when it shows a logo of a skeleton key right after the computer is powered up, it's requesting the password to be entered. You'll have to reset the machine.

Flakey systems can intermittently enable the password. The default for the AMI BIOS is "ami", as you might guess. The default password often acts as a master password. This is always worth trying.

The CMOS passwords are incorporated into the system by the SETUP routine. The BIOS might prevent the computer from booting without the input of the correct characters. SETUP can also require a password before allowing modification of the computer's hardware definition.

The easiest way to remove the password is to look on the motherboard for a jumper marked "CLEAR PASSWORD." In the IBM PS2 55SX, reversing the speaker connector, thus shorting pins 5 and 6, will clear the password. With this model, since the battery and the CMOS are the same component, there is no other way to remove a password, if you don't already know it. For some systems, the jumper location might also be marked on the inside of the case cover. So much for security!

I've had success in forcing entry to a password-protected CMOS by simply making some change in the configuration. Removing RAM or pulling the hard drive cable will often induce an error message during POST. The BIOS might then ask if you want to run SETUP. Answer yes. When you're in SETUP, just remove the passwords.

The most radical, but the most certain course of action is to wipe out all CMOS settings. A CLEAR CMOS jumper might be on the motherboard. This will immediately set the CMOS to system defaults. The jumper of INTERNAL/EXTERNAL battery will serve the same purpose. Here it will be necessary to wait from 10 minutes up to several hours for an equivalent result. Very often, especially with PS2s and laptops, the battery must be removed and then replaced. For the PS2s it takes, MINIMUM, of a half an hour to remove the settings. Several hours is very likely.

When, by clearing the CMOS, the password has once and for all given its last gasp, you will then have to run SETUP and restore all the settings. On the newer machines, the SETUP routine is built into the system. Now, with the CMOS a clean slate, you will be prompted to run SETUP. On older 286s and even some 386s (some COMPAQ 386 models, for example), you will need a SETUP disk.

Most categories are obvious, like TIME and DATE. For the HARD DRIVE specs, with an up-to-date system, just run AUTO-DETECT in SETUP. On older motherboards, you'll have to manually enter the figures. The 3 necessary ones are HEADS, CYLINDERS, and SECTORS. The DRIVE TYPE might be written or printed on your hard drive. Open the case and look. If this is not so, then contact tech support for your drive. They all have automated info and fax back lines for this. If your motherboard does not have a definite DRIVE TYPE, then, for most systems, choose TYPE 47 or USER DEFINED and just fill in the blanks.

For all the more advanced, esoteric stuff (wait states, etc), leave the SYSTEM DEFAULTS as is.

Laptops can be handled in the same way. If you're lucky, the CMOS battery will be under a easily accessible hatch in its own little compartment. If that's not the case, you'll need to open up the unit. First remove all the screws. You're going to need a set of very small screwdrivers. Keep an eye out for screws hidden under labels and rubber pads. Quite likely, after removing all screws, you'll need to gently pry open the laptops case.

By the way, the laptops power battery has nothing to do with the CMOS battery.

With a Toshiba you can try a loopback connected to the parallell port during the boot. This is done by connecting pins 1-5-10, 2-11, 3-17, 4-12, 6-16, 7-13, 8-14, 9-15, 18-25.

User Password entered in the BIOS is stored in the onboard CMOS RAM, which is powered by the onboard cell battery. You can clear the password with the following procedures:
Turn off the computer and uncover the case.
Locate the RTCLR jumper near the cell battery as specified in the manual.
Short the two pins with a jumper to reset the CMOS RAM.
Turn on the computer.
Remove the jumper installed in step 3.
Turn on the computer and enter CMOS set up to load BIOS default.
Save and exit CMOS set up. "
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by:heuer
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thanks a lot people. nice to get lots of comments. I really appreciate it. Thanks once again.
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by:Dogga17
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I friend recently gave me a system with really old GA586VX REV 3.35 Gigabyte m/board with an AWARD BIOS and I found it had a CMOS password. Fortunately I knew the friend I got the system off knew next to nothing about computers let alone CMOS so I guessed he hadn't set the password.
 The board has no CMOS clearing jumper and no removable battery. I managed to download the manual which stated it had an internal battery integrated with the RTC (In other words chanced of bypassing this password were slim to none). I then managed to find this URL on the net :

http://www.zion.cz/vladia/doc/other/cmos-bios/bios_password.html

It gave me a list of AWARD passwords and the fourth one I tried 'AWARD_SW' (possibly case sensitive) worked. It also tells of software programs to crack CMOS/BIOS passwords.
The info proved very helpful and just wanted to post this for anyone with a tricky m/board with a CMOS password they don't know.

 

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