Dell Inspiron 1100 Bios password reset - even dell can't do it?

Posted on 2008-11-14
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
We have an inspiron 1100 laptop that someone set the bios password on.  We don't know what the password is.  It's a Pheonix password and we tried the generic bios passwords that are out on the web.

we called dell and even with their service tag -> bios password generator, it doesn't unlock it.  looking on the dell website, it seems that they changed the bios from phoenix to dell sometime down the line.  and you can't upgrade the bios till you unlock the bios.  

I think (the front line techs don't know) that their password generator is for the dell bios, not phoenix bios?  any ideas then on how to unlock the phoenix bios password on a dell inspiron 1100?

Question by:babaganoosh
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    In order to unlock the BIOS password, perform one of the two following tasks:

    Find the BIOS jumper on the motherboard, set the jumper to reset and turn the computer on. Your BIOS is reset to factory. Turn the system off, set the jumper back to its original location and turn the system on. Now you need to set your BIOS settings back the way you made them (if you ever made changes)


    Unplug EVERYTHING from the computer. Pull the watch battery off the motherboard. Leave it like this overnight. Put the battery back in and hope it's reset.
    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

    Removing the internal lithium button cell battery and the main battery for 12 hours usually does the trick. The button cell is usually located under the keyboard.
    See also previous article for more info

    Author Comment

    thanks.  the dell's use a special chip that's not resettable with the battery / jumper chip

    Author Comment

    lkna - thanks, that article you mentiojn specifically says that the battery trick won't work.
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    Don't give up on dell support.  The will fix your problem. Be persistent.  I worked and Dell support and I know not every tech has or can get the answer.  

    Call back.  Ask again and ask the tech to ash his supper visor.  Don't as to speak to the supervisor your self. Be nice.  They really don't mind talking to their supervisor for you.
    LVL 34

    Assisted Solution

    You can replace the security chip, You can replace the motherboard about the same price as having the security chip replaced.  If the bios has been replaced as you mentioned there isn't anything Dell can do. I personally would suggest just getting a new laptop as the 1100 isn't a very reliable one and can be replaced with a much faster system w/warranty for less that $500.

    Author Comment

    the chip wasn't replaced... the unit was shipped with pheonix BIOS (software / firmware...).

    but after rev 23 of the OS, they 'call it' dell bios.  strictly a CD / software change.  no hardware change.

    but I wonder if using pheonix bios / code, the unlock code wasn't written into the code.  only when they started using dell bios / code, did they have that back door?!

    yeah, it's not a big deal - the machine runs.  just my compulsion to want to resolve this : )  I waste too much time on the wrong things!

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