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bios password dell inspiron 1520

Posted on 2009-07-08
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I worked on a client computer a few days ago and I rebooted many time.  When I left, Vista sp1 was running.  I Told the client to reboot at the end and it would be ok
todays he called me back saying the computer ask for the Bios startup password (wich was never set)
I looked over the net and someone mentioned he had the same problem after upgrading to sp1
unfortunately, we don't have the bios password.  it wasn't set before.
Dell is aware of the issue, they offer us to fix the problem for 55$
(since we're out of warranty)
the computer is a laptop inspiron 1520
any thought ?
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Question by:Genetic_Wolf
8 Comments
 
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by:
Diesel79 earned 75 total points
ID: 24809450
You should be able to get past this by simply unhooking the cmos battery. Unplug the machine then pull the standard battery. Once that is complete unhook the cmos battery and leave it sit a bit. It should clear. I dont know of any keyboard combos or anything for that model that will work.
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by:andoss
ID: 24809616
You can try what diesel has suggested, However if for some reason a HDD password has been applied aswell then this won't solve your issue as the HDD password is stored on the HDD itself.
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Assisted Solution

by:ForsakenSA
ForsakenSA earned 50 total points
ID: 24809681
You can try the tool attached.  It will give you the master password.  Rename to.exe

This requires your service tag number.
latitude.zip
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Author Comment

by:Genetic_Wolf
ID: 24813280
Diesel79:  it's a laptop, not a table computer.  Battery is not accessible.  and if you try your solution on an IBM laptop, you're screwed, because it will revert to compagny bios protection and erase the HDD encryption scheme and then you would have to pay 250$ to IBM to change the motherboard and you lose your data

fortunately, it's a DELL laptop, nevertheless, I don't know if they apply the same security measure, I won't risk it.

andoss: yep, I know that.  But just for your information, HDD Password in itselft is never stored on the HDD. it's a matrix of the password that it is stored.  when the bios *try* the password, the matrix is supposed to return a special value.  if it doesn't, the bios know you got the wrong password.  using a wrong password result in being unable to read the real data anyway, so the bios won't risk booting.
and as explained to Diesel79, erasing the bios memory with the battery is very hazardous on a laptop.
you're better be sure no security is activated.  Wich unfortunately I didn't check the 2 first time I played with the computer (before it crash)

ForsakenSA: I need to boot in order to run the program right ?  even booting on CD is not possible with the current protection.

could a power surge caused that ?  I noticed the wireless firewall is not working anymore (linksys)
the wired part work, but not the wireless part.  The other laptop is unable to detect any wireless router

any other thoughts on the bios?



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Author Comment

by:Genetic_Wolf
ID: 24813297
ForsakenSA: sorry misread.  I'll try your program.
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Expert Comment

by:Diesel79
ID: 24814725
That is not entirely true man. On an IBM laptop it is possible to erase the double eeprom on the main board to clear your password. That has worked since way back in the 760 series. While I admit this does nothing for the HD password, hard drives are much cheaper than new laptops and mother boards.
I doubt very much dell has the same security measures that IBM does and have not had any issues with resetting one this way. I have not done your specific model but have done it on other inspirons in the past without issue. Your right, it is a bit of work to get to the battery but still really isnt that big of a deal.
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Author Comment

by:Genetic_Wolf
ID: 25029517
In any case I failed to fix the problem.
the program given by ForsakenSA is certainly a must for the model it was intended to, but it's not working on my particular model. :(  Although this kind of program must exist for inspiron.

best possible offered solution would be a reset with the battery...  wich is not that great on a notebook though.  What scare me most is what caused this in the first place since the password WASN'T set before installing Vista SP1.
but I didn't had the machine in my hand the whole time so it can be user issue.

Thanks all.


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Author Closing Comment

by:Genetic_Wolf
ID: 31601369
I was unable to fix the problem with the curent solution, but good solution were offered that could work in other situation
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