Dell Inspiron 2500

tRRiggerON
tRRiggerON used Ask the Experts™
on
greetings

Anyone know anything about a Dell Inspiron 2500?

A person had to retrieve this laptop from another because they had stopped making payments on it. The other person decided to play hard-ball and put a password of some type on it so the original owner couldnt get into it. The owner said that at first it looked like a windows password prompt had appeared but after plenty of unsuccessful guesses he said it reverted to a "HDD password:" prompt only now. Apparently, you cant boot to floppy or cd rom because you cant get into cmos (as far as he says)I am guessing that is some sort of failsafe password prompt because he entered the wrong password too many times? How would one get around something like this. He's passing it on to me in a few days so I dont have all the info on the make of the bios or internal components as of yet but its standard for the 2500.

Anyone ever ran into this type of problem before?
TY
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Hi, tRRiggerON

i guess if it is a cmos password, u can ask dell to help u reset the password, showing them your proof of purchase.
if however, u want to boot from floppy, provided the floppy drive is still enabled, it is possible to modify ur hard disk to bypass booting from the hard disk but from the floppy.



=======CoolBreeze=======
== Cool It, the Breeze is here  ==
=====================

Commented:
You can take apart the laptop, remove the bios battery for a few minutes, then reassemble.
that will void the warranty
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Commented:
CoolBreeze

What are you talking about? Warrantys are not intact when it exchanges too many hands. I already checked with dell giving the service tag and they said it is void but they would service it for charge. Not everyone that needs to help in a situation like this posseses a stolen laptop although I can understand the concern. However this is not the case. I'm trying to save a few dollars by doing this stuff myself.
moving on

I was able to get into the bios by flashing it. Apparently one is able to boot from floppy and cdrom. It cleared the bios. Nevertheless, there is still a hdd password. Fdisk wont read it for long before getting rejected. Like it knows that it needs extend large drive support but can't read partition information. It is almost clear now that it is a hdd software password security. I had removed the hdd from the laptop and restarted it and there was no hdd password prompt just "no operating system found" thats what leads me to believe the pass is on the hdd. However, bios does know that it is in a locked state but doesnt actually store or keep track of the password itself (my theory). Buying a new hdd is like 129-199. Trying to avoid that. In theory, I could buy a new hdd but if I am wrong and the pass is not on the hdd but on a eprom chip located on the sys board, then it would effectively simply lock the new hdd too and I would have a total of 500 invested on a door-stop. Unless I sent it to dell for service in which it would cost several hundred to solder in a new emprom or something. Not a chance Im willing to try at this point. Besides I don't know enough at this point. I was just hoping someone ran into this problem before.
The hdd is a IBM travelsport 10.05gig.
Thanks  

Commented:
Use a low level format utility. Another option is to boot off a linux install disk. In the install, there are options to change, remove partitions, etc. Delete yours. Make sure you apply the changes (you may have to go through more step in setup before they get applied).

Author

Commented:
thanks damole1
but linux setup gets started and all but when it comes time to read the hda it stops because it cannot read the drive.
Tried windows2000 setup also and it can't read the drive.

As far as low level format, well first thing the pc does is prompt for hdd pw once you enter the wrong pass 5 times it then disables the hdd and checks to boot to the next bootable drive i.e. floppy, cdrom. (even if I put the c drive at the end on the boot sequence). Once in dos mode essentially there is no c: drive (makes c: ramdrive) so you can format the ram drive. So I dont know how I would do a low level format.
Thanks

Author

Commented:
sorry you cant format the ramdrive. sheesh

Author

Commented:
sorry you cant format the ramdrive. sheesh
quote:

"Not everyone that needs to help in a situation like this posseses a stolen laptop..."

sorry, but in what way did i suggest a stolen laptop? i apologize if i did so... but that was not my original intent

Author

Commented:
Coolbreeze
no biggie, I guess I kind of jump the gun anywho. I have been getting a lot of "check with dell" comments elsewhere. Dell won't give a hint of help without your credit card number or shipping it to them. Warrentys been over for a while. I know there has to be a way.
I am able to access disk information with disk editors and managers but wont write a single to it.

peace
it doesn't prompt for the password if u boot from floppy right?

if u boot from floppy, do u have a c drive?

Author

Commented:
directly after startup the bios prompts for a hdd password once you make 5 tries and it then disables the hdd and looks for the next bootable drive..i.e. floppy, cdrom. C becomes the ramdrive. Some disk editors/managers can see the fixed disk but cant write to it or read anything further than the very basics. Once the bios disables the hdd, nothing can access it. I even tried zapping it but it cant zap what it cant see.

Thanks
are u setting it to boot to floppy first or hard disk?

Author

Commented:
Coolbreeze
it doesnt matter the sequence. I just took it in to the repair shop and they said the hdd was damaged and couldnt be accessed, So I ma closing this thread because I am sick of this whole deal....sending this stupid thing back to owner! lol, let him burst a few blood vessels in his head over trying to figure it out.
Thanks for the help all
peace

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