Reset Dell Bios Password?

Discussion in 'Computer Help' started by ark42, May 6, 2012.

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  1. ark42

    ark42 Member

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    So, my friend's son messed up his Windows installation. You can't boot into anything. No F8 Safe Mode or anything gets past a few seconds of boot without a hard reset for no reason. I'm sure my friend could fix this for her son, but he put a password on the BIOS and doesn't remember it. The laptop is set to only boot from the hard drive. You can't press F2 to get into the BIOS or F12 to select a different boot device without the password. Removing the laptop battery and CMOS battery does not clear the password and there is no jumper pins to set either.

    I've tried the service code 3FYJZG1 at http://bios-pw.org.ua/ and none of the passwords it generates work. I tried appending -595B, -D35B, -2A7B, and -A95B to get different passwords, but none of those work either. The laptop is out of warranty by like 1 year. Despite that, my friend already tried calling Dell and spent 4 hours on the phone with them trying to get a password from them. She went through a bunch of combinations as well, but none of them worked, and Dell support eventually gave up on her.

    The laptop is an Inspiron M5010 (Inspiron 15). What else can I try to get into the BIOS and let it boot from CD, so that I can give it back to my friend to finish fixing the Windows install?
     
  2. denis280

    denis280 Diamond Member

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    if it's ami bios. type in( dell )
     
  3. ark42

    ark42 Member

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    dell, Dell, and DELL were all tried, none work. I'm sure those are all for very old models.
     
  4. Puppies04

    Puppies04 Diamond Member

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    Your best bet at this point is to try and get him to remember the password
     
  5. ark42

    ark42 Member

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    I'm sure if that was going to happen, I wouldn't have the laptop over at my place at all.

    All he knows is it was like 16 letters long, and everything he tried he thought was right didn't work.
     
  6. Puppies04

    Puppies04 Diamond Member

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    Are you sure this isn't a cunning ploy to get a new laptop?
     
  7. ark42

    ark42 Member

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    If it is, it's not going to work, and I doubt my friend would have spent 4 hours on the phone with dell trying to get a password out of the service code, only to have them tell her that maybe removing the CMOS battery will work (obviously it would never).

    I'm going to have to guess that the algorithm Dell uses to generate passwords from service tags has changed now and again. There are many utilities out there (C source, exe, python, and the javascript one I linked to) that can duplicate what Dell support should be doing. Unfortunately, I think the problem with the utilities is that the laptop is too new and nobody's duplicated the correct algorithm for that service tag model yet. In another few years, I bet unlocking this would work on the first try using one of those utilities.
     
  8. denis280

    denis280 Diamond Member

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    Well is got no choice but calling dell again.and if he did put this password in he should try harder to remember.
     
  9. jjsbasmt

    jjsbasmt Senior member

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    A question if I may, how long did you leave the battery and CMOS battery removed? Since some capacitors can hold a minute charge for quite a while, I would suggest after all the batteries have been removed, hold the power on switch for a few seconds and then wait over night to see what happens the next day. If nothing then I would guess that that password was written into some non volitale memory chip somewhere.
     
  10. billyb0b

    billyb0b Golden Member

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    download a newer, or older, bios version and flash to that. it should wipe all settings, including the bios password
     
  11. Fardringle

    Fardringle Diamond Member

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    That might work if the system would let him boot to a CD/floppy to flash the BIOS, but the reason this thread was created is because the system is locked and won't let him boot from a CD to reinstall Windows.
     
  12. ark42

    ark42 Member

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    Both batteries were removed and the laptop sat, unplugged of course, for 48 hours, with no change. I'm pretty sure the password is written to some NVRAM on another chip.

    Can't update the BIOS, unless there is a secret key-press that I don't know about which will jump directly to updating the BIOS, as the regular BIOS update requires at least a dos boot disk of some sort in order to run it. Pressing F12 to select the boot device just goes to a prompt for the system password. Same little blue background text box that you get when pressing F2. You get 3 tries to enter the password, then the laptop shuts itself down. Turn it on, and repeat with 3 more tries.
     
  13. Steltek

    Steltek Golden Member

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    I notice that BIOS A06 for the M5010 included a fix labeled "Enhanced BIOS password support". It may be that nobody outside Dell will be able to derive that password.

    The only thing I can think of to try is to build a spare laptop hard drive with a bootable Windows-based recovery environment from which a BIOS update could be run. If you could swap that drive into the laptop and get it to boot, you might be able to update the BIOS that way.

    I'd say it is probably a slim chance, though, as I can't help but suspect that the BIOS might be locked from flashing without the password. It is also possible that flashing the BIOS might not even reset the NVRAM containing the password so you wouldn't be any better off (or, even worse, could scramble the NVRAM so a password could never be entered).
     
  14. ark42

    ark42 Member

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    So... you can boot from CD when the hard drive is removed, without having to use F12. Updated from A05 to A12 BIOS while booted from a Hiren's BootCD. There is still a password on the BIOS afterwards though.
     
  15. Moody_99

    Moody_99 Junior Member

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    you could try removing the cmos battry for 15 minutes and then put it back in. for this you need to access the motherboard on there you will find a coin shaped battery. remove this battery for 15 minutes. then put it back in.

    Please by opening the PC you will void your warranty if you have any left.
     
  16. ark42

    ark42 Member

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    While I appreciate your attempt to help, I mentioned in the very first post that the CMOS battery was already removed. It does not clear the password on Dell laptops under any circumstance. Even when left out for 48 hours as mentioned in a later post.
     
  17. ViviTheMage

    ViviTheMage Lifer

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    I used to have a Dell CD that would reset these bios passwords ... a dell field tech gave it to me.

    If I can find it, it's yours.
     
  18. sm625

    sm625 Diamond Member

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    Try hypnosis on him.
     
  19. ark42

    ark42 Member

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    I searched for things like that, but only came up with a Dell Internal utility that lets you change the service tag and other things like that. Since I can boot from CDs by removing the hard drive, I tried that. I tried changing the service tag to things like AAAAAAA and using those utilities to generate master passwords like http://bios-pw.org.ua/ but none of it worked, and I eventually just changed the service tag back to the real one from the sticker on the bottom.
     
  20. ViviTheMage

    ViviTheMage Lifer

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    yeah, that is a different utility, this one would specifically reset BIOS passwords for our laptops.

    so far I cannot find it though
     
  21. bruceb

    bruceb Diamond Member

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  22. ark42

    ark42 Member

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    Thanks. Looks like that is A28 and I had A12. I'll have to see what's new on that version. It may only do service tag changes still though, I'm not sure.
     
  23. KompuKare

    KompuKare Senior member

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    If all you want to do is re-install Windows why not take out the HDD and install Windows?

    Should be doable with most versions:

    - With XP, you certainly can do the initial install and swap HDDs to another machine after that.

    - Vista / 7 I'm fairly sure you can do the same.

    Also, Linux / Grub may be an option. Installing any Linux is usually hardware independent. So do that, then read up on a tutorial on allowing Grub to boot a CD (not sure if it's even possible but worth a try).

    EDIT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_GRUB#Variants. GRUB4DOS sounds like it can boot from CD.
    If the HDD still has the recovery partition, you might want to image that first (assuming the owners never made any recovery discs).
     
  24. ark42

    ark42 Member

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    There can be issues with installing windows on another computer and moving the drive back to the laptop. It might work, but it might just crash on startup then, who knows. Also I don't really want to fix Windows for them, I want to let it boot normally so they can fix it themselves.

    I think if it was my laptop, at this point I'd try a USB keyboard, USB mouse (because the top panel with keyboard needs to be off to reach the HDD), and try to hot-plug the SATA drive back in after booting from the restore CD. But it's not mine, and I don't even have the restore CD here.
     
  25. Fallen Kell

    Fallen Kell Diamond Member

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    Not sure if you tried, but simply pull the batteries. Remove the laptop's battery, open up the laptop itself (search for directions on the internet, usually involved removing keyboard for access to motherboard), and remove the BIOS battery. Wait 5 minutes, put the BIOS battery back in, put laptop back together, and boot. The system should now no long contain a BIOS password, or it has been reset to hard-coded value.

    Or simply follow the service manual instructions....

    http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/insm5010/en/sm/coinbatt.htm#wp1182375
     
    #25 Fallen Kell, May 15, 2012
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
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