Dell Inspiron 1520 Forgot BIOS Password

Posted on 2009-07-01
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
I received a laptop from a buddy of mine that he bought off of a buddy of his......lol .  He wanted me to fix an issue with logging into the machine.  It asks for a system password or CMOS Sys Admin password.  Not one of them can recall what the password is.  So, naturally, we're stuck.  Is there a way to overide the system from asking the password or a way to reset the password.  I do know that a master password probably exists and perhaps I can get that from Dell, but I'm not sure if they'd give it to me over the phone.  Well, I know they wouldn't give it to me over the phone, but without the acknowledgement of the original owner (not sure how to get a hold of him cause he moved), I don't think they'd give it to me.

Please assist if you can.
Question by:bchallm

Assisted Solution

alexpercsi earned 80 total points
ID: 24754388
This applies to desktop PCs not laptops, but perhaps you can find an analogy.

Desktop motherboards have a jumper next to the onboard lithium battery. By default the two pins of the jumper are not shorted. If you disconnect the PC from the power source then connect the two pins with a jumper for 20 seconds, the CMOS will be cleared and with it the BIOS password. Next reset the jumper to its initial position, connect the PC to the power supply and boot. The CMOS will be reset.

I hope this helps,
LVL 88

Accepted Solution

rindi earned 920 total points
ID: 24754456
The only way is to get in touch with Dell, they will ask for proof of ownership, and then they will help you, but it probably won't be free. On most modern Laptops you have enhanced security and the passwords etc are stored on a chip that isn't cleared if you reset the CMOS. With some you even have to replace the motherboard...

Assisted Solution

splashdamage earned 920 total points
ID: 24754501

You can do a transfer of ownership at:
After you have done this, you can call Dell tech support and have them issue you the master password. Good luck!
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LVL 20

Assisted Solution

by:Iain MacMillan
Iain MacMillan earned 80 total points
ID: 24764747
depending on the age of the laptop, if you can open up the bottom of the unit (assuming its out of warranty), you usually just need to pop the lithium battery for 15+ minutes to reset the CMOS settings.

used to have a parallel port loop plug years ago for resetting laptop bios's but as Rindi points out, most modern units have advanced security chips, like Lenovo which you can't reset easily without their tech support help.  suggest you do the change of ownership and ask for their help, they will have a MASTER override code that they should give you to gain access.. Worse case scenario, the mainboard will have to be replaced.

Author Comment

ID: 24785372
I know that popping the battery won't work.  I will probably file an online change of ownership form with Dell and then try to get them to send me the master password.  I know in the past there was a way with Dells that had a printer port to kind of form a loop back on some pins in the printer port...(loop back to itself) to kind of reset the bios.  This trick actually worked.  However, this laptop does not have a printer port.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31598772
I kinda knew that Dell was an option.  I was more interested in seeing ig anyone knew of other ways to bypass it like you could on older Dell Laptops.  Afterall was said and done, I agreed that I would go with my first notion to contact Dell and fill out a form.

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