Resetting BIOS Passwords

If you are not sure of the location of the clear CMOS jumper, or your system does not have one, there’s another easy (but slower) way to clear the CMOS memory and reset the BIOS. Every motherboard has a battery built in which provides the trickle of power the CMOS memory needs to store its information. If you remove the battery for a brief period, the CMOS should lose its stored data.

In all modern motherboards, the battery is a standard CR 2032 Lithium Cell, which looks like this:

cmos_battery1.jpg

To clear the CMOS memory, power down you system and remove this battery (you will probably need a flathead screwdriver to do it) for 5-10 minutes, then pop it back in and turn your system on. You will be prompted to set the BIOS defaults. From the BIOS screen, save and exit, and the password should no longer be set.

While this works well with desktop PCs, notebooks and laptops employ slightly different methods of storing the BIOS password. In most cases, like 99% of the time, you will not be able to reset a forgotten BIOS password by this, or any other user accessible method. Since notebooks are easily stolen, manufacturers have evolved their security measures significantly to help you protect your data, and investment. Look for PCstats Guide to preventing data theft from a stolen laptop soon… In the mean time, when it comes to resetting a BIOS-level password on a notebook, usually the only option available is to send the entire notebook back to the manufacturer for support.

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~ by ramanathan on January 12, 2007.

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