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HP BIOS/CMOS Backdoor Password

Posted on 2007-10-01
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Is there a backdoor CMOS/BIOS password for HP laptops (specifically the TC4400)?  I have one that has an unknown bios password, and I really don't feel like taking this thing apart.
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Question by:jhartlov
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by:PUNKY
PUNKY earned 75 total points
ID: 19995920
You could get support from HP though. Call them and prove your ownership, they might charge a little fee.
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by:jhartlov
ID: 19995926
Thanks....but that wasn't my question.
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by:jhartlov
ID: 19995929
I went to HP support....they told me to take it apart, and remove the RTC battery.  that is what I am trying to avoid.
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LVL 70

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by:Merete
Merete earned 225 total points
ID: 19995942
Most bios should not have a password I usually just hit enter at the blank to bypass it. But some techs do add one why I dont know just to make life hard for other techs.
Check here see if you can get some keys
Backdoor and default passwords
http://www.freelabs.com/~whitis/security/backdoor.html
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by:JjcampNR
JjcampNR earned 225 total points
ID: 19996005
Why go through all the trouble of trying to find a backdoor into the machine when you could really easily just pop out the RTC battery or sometimes even just move a jumper for a second?

Some options besides taking the battery out are:
Utility:  http://www.softpedia.com/get/Security/Decrypting-Decoding/CmosPwd.shtml
Backdoor Passwords:  http://www.tech-faq.com/reset-bios-password.shtml

Good luck.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 75 total points
ID: 19996907
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by:
Mark earned 450 total points
ID: 19998150
The RTC battery is on the underside of the system board, and you will need to totally disassemble the laptop to get at it.
Here is a video guide from HP showing you the steps to do this.
Click on the -->Real Time Clock Battery<-- 3rd from  the bottom of the left side column.

http://h20181.www2.hp.com/plmcontent/NACSC/SML/results.htm?SID=1847962&MEID=E047A8D8-290E-4D17-A637-B9C05EC4CB28
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by:jhartlov
ID: 19998171
Sparkmaster....I think you are missing the point.  I know how to take it apart.  I am trying to avoid it.
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by:Mark
ID: 19998248
One other thing to know. If the  STRINGENT SECURITY OPTION has been enabled in the bios, you will need to replace the system board as the RTC battery removal will not clear a password if this has been enabled.
Here is an excerpt from the service manual
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/CoreRedirect.jsp?redirectReason=DocIndexPDF&prodSeriesId=1847962&targetPage=http%3A%2F%2Fh20000.www2.hp.com%2Fbc%2Fdocs%2Fsupport%2FSupportManual%2Fc00692629%2Fc00692629.pdf
for the TC4400, on how to accomplish the RTC removal and explaining the Stringent security option.
1.2    Resetting the Tablet PC
If the tablet PC you are servicing has an unknown password, follow the steps below to clear the password. These steps also clearCMOS.
The following steps will not clear an unknown password if the
stringent security option has been enabled in the BIOS. If
stringent security is enabled, the system board must be replaced
to reset an unknown password. Refer to Section 5.21, System
Board, for more information on replacing the system board.
Before replacing the system board, perform the steps below to
make sure stringent security has been properly enabled.
Enabling stringent security provides enhanced prtotection for the
power-on password and administrator password and other forms
of power-on authorization. Stringent security is enabled/disabled
by accessing the Password Options menu in the Computer Setup
utility. Refer to Section 2.1, Computer Setup, for more
information.

1.Prepare the tablet PC for disassembly (refer to Section 5.3,
Preparing the Tablet PC for Disassembly, for more
information).

2.Remove the real-time clock (RTC) battery (refer toSection 5.23, RTC Battery, for more information on removing and replacing the RTC battery).

3.Wait approximately 5 minutes.

4.Replace the RTC battery and reassemble the tablet PC.

5.Connect AC power to the tablet PC. Do not reinsert any batteries at this time.

6.Turn on the tablet PC.
All passwords and all CMOS settings have been cleared.
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by:jhartlov
ID: 19998266
sparkmaster.....thanks for the hard work, but you are still MISSING THE POINT.  I am looking to see if there is any way out there that I can clear this password WITHOUT TAKING THE SYSTEM APART.
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Expert Comment

by:Mark
ID: 19998288
There is no avoiding it. HP would give you a backdoor if you have proven ownership.
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Author Comment

by:jhartlov
ID: 19998320
So there is a backdoor!  Cool...I am looking for someone that has it.
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Expert Comment

by:Mark
ID: 19998364
Sorry meant to say IF they had it
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by:Mark
ID: 19998376
Do you know if the Stringent security setting was enabled??
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Author Comment

by:jhartlov
ID: 19998389
haven't a clue.
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 20002899
Why do you need to access the bios? is there a problem accessing the hdd?
You can remove the hard drive without pulling system apart, then slave the HDD using a laptop to desktop ide cable.
Take a look here
http://www.instructables.com/id/Bypass-BIOS-Boot-or-OS-Login-to-%22most%22-any-compute/?relatedLink




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Expert Comment

by:JjcampNR
ID: 20003755
So none of the utilities listed so far worked?  You haven't given us an update on that....

Merete - there's no problem with the hard drive, there's a BIOS password set that needs to be cleared.
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 20004490
ok thank you
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Author Comment

by:jhartlov
ID: 20005023
No...the utility did not work, nor did the listed BIOS backboor passwords.  
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by:nobus
ID: 20007605
i support punky's advise
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Author Comment

by:jhartlov
ID: 20007806
nobus....thanks for the tip.  I already called HP support.  They told me to take it apart.  I am trying to avoid that.  I think that I am going to ship the computer out, have them fix it, and close this case with no resolution.  No one has provided the desired result.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 20008002
o thought punky was spot on ....
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by:jhartlov
ID: 20011026
me too....tried that.  
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Expert Comment

by:fastzcar
ID: 33518667
I have to say how FREAKING DISAPPOINTED I was with all the 'Experts" responses here.  Been in the IT business since 1994 and have shunned this site since I have always been able to find what i needed on other FREE Forums.  Since I have the same issue as the poster I decided to do the free trial.

My issue is the same in that there is a BIOS password set and I too do not want to go through taking the ENTIRE FREAKING THING APART to get to the RTC battery to clear the PW (this is why I have always bought DELL's - HELLO HP???  You couldn't put an access panel in to get to this???).  I can only boot to the internal hard drive or a network boot since everything else is locked out in the BIOS.  I want to be able to boot to an external CD or a FLASH drive when needed plus enable the fingerprint reader.  For other people who come to this post there is a program called UNLOCK6 that you can download but it only works with a HP BIOS not the COMPAQ BIOS'es (RANT AGAIN - AND who freaking puts a proprietary BIOS chip in???  HELLO?).  However if you have 'other' HP laptops this will work for some of them.  Basically if you get a code when entering the wrong pw three times then UNLOCK6 should work for you.  You must run the app on another system if you cannot boot your HP or if you can boot and use it then you run it in the COMMAND SHELL, put the code in and it will give you the backdoor pw.

I am going to stay on my free trail for another 28 days but really as for the great fabled 'Experts Exchange' site you all should be ashamed with your non-answers.  However if there really are any REAL experts that happen to see this and have more knowledge then I would humbly accept the information.  I DO LOVE that I got my ID (fastzcar) here and it same as it's is at gmail!  Saving grace...
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Expert Comment

by:fastzcar
ID: 33518707
ALSO - Regarding the Stringent Security issue...  If you have the HP ProtectTools Software installed you can see the BIOS settings (in the Control Panel - enter the wrong pw 3 times and it lets you view it in Read Only mode) and you can tell whether stringent security is on or off....mine is off thankfully so its just a total teardown to get to the RTC battery....however I though some folks might be interested in knowing this....of course if your issue is not being able to boot then i guess this doesn't help either.  However none of the 'Experts here seemed to even bring this up which I thought was odd...maybe what the site needs is to exchange its 'experts' for some real ones?
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 33519703
i would suggest - if you have a question -  to open a different thread.
and insulting EE and the experts won't help much i'm afraid...
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Expert Comment

by:dad5
ID: 36577493
There is a chip that needs removal.  
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