toshiba laptop asking for bios password

1)is there any default password that we can try for the prompt asking for bios password?
2)if the above is no, is there any solution that can fix it without opening up the laptop (and getting the parts out)

Who is Participating?
Dr. KlahnConnect With a Mentor Principal Software EngineerCommented:
We do see this question fairly reqularly.  Here's a summary of the usual answers:

1.  Removing the BIOS backup battery seldom works on modern laptops.  Several years back, manufacturers realized security defeatable that easily is not security.  BIOS passwords are now stored on mini-flash chips, separate from the BIOS settings.  There are some individual exceptions.

2.  If you can prove to the manufacturer that you are the registered owner of the laptop, they can sometimes help you by issuing an override password.

  Must prove ownership.  800-816-2237.  $100 plus tax.  Not covered under warranty.  Must be shipped to Acer repair depot.

  Must prove ownership.  800-624-9896.  $50 for out-of-warranty.
  Ownership transfer:
  Warranty check:

  "Password reset team" for some models.  HP phone support denies this.  Faxable request form (7 years old):  Voice number dead, FAX number active 10/2009.  $70 charge.
  HP service centers and some HP authorized techs have reset software for some models.  HP also denies this.

  See this first:
  "Only an Authorized Service Provider can clear a Password if it has been forgotten. You will be required to show proof of ownership to the ASP prior to having the Password removed this way."

3.  If you can't prove that you own the laptop, some businesses claim to be able to override passwords for some models.  This is a very gray area as regards discussion here.  Google for information.

4.  If a password override is not available for your model, the password chip can sometimes be replaced.  If you have SMT desoldering and resoldering equipment, the chips are available on the Internet.  If not, the laptop can be shipped to a business that does replacement.  Google for information.  Expect this to be expensive.
what model is the laptop?
RaneeshConnect With a Mentor IT SupportCommented:
I haven't tried it yet
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☠ MASQ ☠Connect With a Mentor Commented:
DrKlahn has got this pretty much covered (and wouldn't that make a useful article :)) although if this is an old laptop the password may be stored in volatile memory and simply depriving the CMOS of power could clear it.
It's not really possible to give a definative answer without the model number.  But there is no default "backdoor" password on Toshiba portables.
anushahannaAuthor Commented:
a105- s2001 toshiba

how can we check if it is stored in volatile mem?
☠ MASQ ☠Connect With a Mentor Commented:
Sorry, post-2002, Toshiba used non-volatile RAM to secure their password system from 2003 onward.  There was a batch of A105 satellites that had a bug that meant they spontaneously set a random password but the S2001 wasn't one of them.  It's off to Toshiba with proof you own it, replace the systemboard or throw it away :(
ocanada_techguyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
And there's the drive to consider.
There's the BIOS password, and then there's the BIOS disk lock password.
So, it is going to depend if the hard drive itself was also password protected in bios with a ATA drive password too.  
If not, attaching the drive as a secondary drive to a working desktop system, you might see the drive contents.  A $6 adapter will let you connect a 2.5" laptop IDE hard drive to a regular desktop 3.5" IDE ribbon and molex power, if sata they're already the same connector.   If in Windows the user chose in control panel that their files be private, it will simply be ACL permissions change to get at them, unless they also chose to encrypt under Windows.  If they encrypted the encryption key is needed and a procedure to decrypt them.
If the drive was bios password locked too, and you cannot guess the "user" password, then the "master" password might be known by Toshiba, and it might be possible to guess what that is, with a tool like ATAPWD or, BUT... it will depend if the drive was locked "normal" or "high", if normal, great the master password can override the user password to access the drive, if "high" however, the master password can only erase the drive, not unlock it.  There's a more complex technique and equipment needed then a la NCIS CIA spy-vs-spy white hats, beyond the ability of all but the most advanced techs.  
Toshiba being able to unlock the laptop BIOS should in theory also permit them to obtain the disk lock password to unlock the drive, not just erase it, you should check if that's included.
jarrod_williamsConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Just take the laptop to an authorised dealer with your proof of ownership. That is the only way to reset the BIOS password on these laptops.
anushahannaAuthor Commented:
Thanks very much for your feedback.

so, to summarize, is it a bug that it is now asking for the password?
if the ASP fixes the password, we could use it if the issue happens again?
2002 and on, there is a easier way to fix this ourselves?
Is it a free fix?
has anyone been through this- how do you prove your ownership? if it was purchased from ebay, ebay receipt is OK?
☠ MASQ ☠Connect With a Mentor Commented:
>>ebay receipt is OK - no you'll need to have proof that the original purchaser has sold it on to you via however many intermediary sales there have been.
I'm guessing because of eBay that this won't be possible.

> is it a bug that it is now asking for the password?
Not on your model - there were some 105's that this happened on though.

>2002 and on, there is a easier way to fix this ourselves?
No it becomes more difficult as laptop manufacturers try to prevent stolen laptops contents being accessed (and try to make them unusable to decrease the likelihood of theft)

>Is it a free fix?
Definiately not - Toshiba will charge you to remove the password even if you have a Support contract as it is not their fault that the possord has been forgotten.  And they charge a substantial amount.

>has anyone been through this- how do you prove your ownership?
Yes, with Dell & Toshiba - Toshiba were probably the most thorough at checking documentation and would not work on the machine until they had checked it both on their local system and faxed the proof of ownership to their Head Office and had authorization back.

Now there's no way I'm suggesting you have a stolen laptop but for a moment think about how eBay would work if a stolen password protected machine was bought there.

anushahannaAuthor Commented:
> is it a bug that it is now asking for the password?
Not on your model - there were some 105's that this happened on though.

it asking for a BIOS password - seemed sudden. How does the system even suspect any theft? Technically, what triggers it to ask for a password.

I have never seen SONY/HP laptops ask for BIOS password ever.
anushahannaAuthor Commented:
can you please confirm the exact reason why this toshiba has asked for password. When does any laptop exhibit such behavior, if it is not random?

ocanada_techguyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
As MASQUERAID wrote, there is no reason to believe your model has a bug that a different model had, despite creating that doubt in your mind.  You could contact the manufacturer for tech support to be certain, but if your model also had such an issue it seems likely some record of it would exist on the Internet, so it seems unlikely.

So, other possibilities that seem more likely are::
b) A password was set on purpose as a security measure by whoever had the laptop previous.  If you don't know it you're left with few recovery options, DrKlahn
c) Anyone with physical access to the unit could have gone into the BIOS and set a password, out of spite, or with malicious intent or as a dirty trick or whatever, a disgruntled colleague even.   Store retailers will tell you how often teenagers will tamper or mess with machines on the display floor if they fail to keep them password protected.
d) if this hard drive came out of a different unit, the different unit might've had a password that this one does not or vice versa.
anushahannaAuthor Commented:
OK- So it is impossible that this laptop just started to behave this way on its own, would you say?

From all the indications above, someone who knew how to tinker with the password theme, was handling the laptop with such intention, good or bad, right?
ocanada_techguyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
While anything is possible, it seems unlikely, please understand the difference in meaning.
It could even be that a virus attempted to flash the bios, there were some viruses that would maliciously corrupt a flashable bios, most would be prevented by an anti-virus, assuming you had a working up-to-date one.  Again, that seems like an obscure unlikely case, compared to say...
someone changed it.
anushahannaAuthor Commented:
very good point- thanks a lot for your patient explanation.
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