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The BIOS is the first kick a computer needs to start working. In simple terms, the Basic Input Output System tells the hardware to load the software (i.e. the operating system) and speak to all the peripherals attached to it. It is also the first place to troubleshoot when a computer won’t boot.
It is also the first door into your system. You can lock the BIOS with a password and stop any unauthorized entry into your computer. This low-level security obstacle can stop anyone with a bootable Windows flash drive or a Linux Live CD a way around the Windows login password.
But what if you set a BIOS password and can’t remember what it was?
How to Reset the BIOS Password
A BIOS password can be easily reset by opening the device and removing the CMOS battery. It cuts off the power to the BIOS and everything in the memory gets erased. It is easy on a desktop computer but a difficult job in many ultrabooks and tablets.
Thankfully, there is an easier way which is helpful for basic users.
The method takes advantage of the backdoors built by manufacturers. The default passwords for specific vendors have been available for some time. A blogger called Dogbert has also developed a website that calculates the vendor password.
- Switch on your PC and enter a wrong password three or more times.
- A message will display an alert that says your system is disabled or the password failed.
- The message will also include a number. Note the number as it will help you generate the BIOS backdoor password.
- Open the BIOS Master Password Generator page on another computer or smartphone.
- Enter the number you saw on the BIOS screen. Click the Get password button to see a list of computer models and passwords. Try the password that is for a machine closest to yours.
- Reboot your machine to the BIOS password screen and enter the password.
You May Need to Reset the BIOS Password via Hardware
Dogbert cautions that some systems use a different system that needs a hardware reset:
Be aware that some vendors use different schemes for master passwords that require hardware to be reset — among them are e.g. IBM/Lenovo.
You can always call up customer support and give them the number that came up on the alert. Alternatively, experienced users can revert to the other emergency methods to reset the BIOS password.
Did you ever have to reset a BIOS password? Which process did you fall back on?
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