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BIOS Password Suddenly Required??

Posted on 2007-03-19
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
This is the second time I have come across this problem, both Dell's, last one a desktop, this one a laptop. For whatever reason a BIOS admin password is suddenly required to logon. A BIOS password has NEVER been setup and the user has never been previously prompted for it. The aforementioned desktop ended up having a bad motherboard, but I'd like to get some input from the Expert's before I saddle this machine with that type of diagnosis.
I cannot get into the BIOS. I cannot boot from ANYTHING. The password prompt comes up before POST.
Thank you.
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Question by:Jeff_Burns
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12 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:Jeff_Burns
ID: 18753360
I forgot to mention that the unit has been dis-assembled and the CMOS battery has been disconnected for over 2 hours...problem remains!
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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:mattyfonz
mattyfonz earned 100 total points
ID: 18753724
have a look at the machines manual there should be a schematic in there of the  mainboard. there might be a jumper that you can set to reset the password.
ive had this happen to me too, for me its caused by dirty power (power spikes, sudden outages etc) that stuff it up. i just disconnect the power and battery then restart it normally.
otherwise DELL may have an override password for the machine
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:jamietoner
ID: 18753780
Call Dell verify ownership and they will give you a master password. Lucky its a Dell many other laptop manufactures require you to send the laptop into a repair facility and pay to have it removed even if the system is under warranty.
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LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:BlueArctos
BlueArctos earned 100 total points
ID: 18754191
As mattyfonz just said, a common way to get past a BIOS password is to set the jumpers on the motherboard into a reset mode. It would help if you gave specific model for the dell in question. Most motherboards have diagrams on the internet and instructions on which configuration the jumpers need to be in to reset the BIOS.
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LVL 4

Assisted Solution

by:ryanarak
ryanarak earned 100 total points
ID: 18754405
Have you tried turning the computer on without the battery installed?  I normally do that to make sure it has been cleared and then turn the unit off and reinstall the battery.  Then try to turn in on and check if it has been cleared.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:charleswsheets
ID: 18757543
Hi Guys,

Obviously, Mr. Burns would like to recover this password as an immediate action.  The bigger question for all of you experts out there is the root cause of this kind of event.  In this case, we're dealing with a Dell Inspiron 3800 laptop. My research indicates the motherboard on this unit is also used in the Dell CPx and CPt laptops. We also know that this unit was not used for a considerable amount of time, but we don't know if this problem started before or after the idle period. These motherboards are readily available for under $50.00, but if we have no knowledge of the root problem the replacement board may be a moot point.
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Author Comment

by:Jeff_Burns
ID: 18758000
Jumpers jumped, battery removed, powered and replaced...problem remains. I understand that I can contact Dell for the master password, but I have a feeling that will be hours of phone-hell. My other concern is I want to verify this is a 'fluke' and not an underlying symptom of a bigger problem...
Thanks!
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LVL 34

Assisted Solution

by:jamietoner
jamietoner earned 100 total points
ID: 18760443
Another option if you dont want to call dell would be to get the security chip replaced. http://www.pwcrack.com/security_chips_dell.shtml
Depending on the system it will cost $40-$60 for just the chip (install yourself) or you can have them replace it for $99-$109 (includes the chip). Its possible there is a problem with the chip or the motherboards bios so depending on the model it may be cheaper and quicker to replace the entire motherboard. If its still under warranty contact dell try the master password and if the master password(s) fail have them replace the motherboard.
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LVL 1

Accepted Solution

by:
charleswsheets earned 1600 total points
ID: 18760533
I recommend you simply reach Dell via Dell Chat. Give them the pertinent information regarding your system and the specifics surrounding your need to "Crack the BIOS Password".  They will be happy to provide you with the needed BIOS Password as well as the HDD password which you'll likely need as well.  They aren't always impossible to deal with.
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:jamietoner
ID: 18760555
Good idea i forgot about there new chat, its a lot easier than calling in.
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Author Comment

by:Jeff_Burns
ID: 18760854
Contacting Dell did it, and it was much more pleasant than you may have imagined. Thanks to all for your assistance!!!
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Expert Comment

by:frank_wwww
ID: 21504243
I just wanted to add that it's not always so pleasant chatting with Dell.  I just spent a total of four hours in chat with Dell trying to get my BIOS password reset on a Vostro 1000.  I am the purchaser of the system, and like in the original complaint, I am unaware of a password being set.  It just showed up one day.

The computer would boot, but I could not change any of the CMOS setup.  The chat experience was an utter waste of time and I have to send the notebook in for repair, but that should only have taken 15 minutes to arrive at, not four hours.

Dell seems to have a business model that would willingly waste any amount of customer time to save a buck on support costs.  One thing that really annoyed me is that I asked to be escalated to a higher level technician and the the Dell tech refused.  And yet he had me remove the CMOS battery to try to clear the password.  In a lapton!!!

I love Dell hardware, but I really hate their support.
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