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Resetting BIOS passwords

The BIOS password has been reset on your computer, affecting your ability to make setting changes -- what can you do? Site expert Kevin Beaver provides suggestions for working around this issue.

I'm running Microsoft Windows XP Home on a Dell. Somehow the BIOS password was reset on my computer. Now I can't make setting changes -- like turning on my HT Tech for my processors -- or change boot devices. I've tried removing the quarter-sized battery by following instructions from the Dell desktop support team; it didn't work. Is there any other way to bypass this or find a work-around?
Good timing with your question -- here's a recent SearchSecurity.com tip that may help. Otherwise, you may have to call Dell's tech support again or have an experienced PC expert take a look at the problem.

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Reader Feedback

Alan B. writes:
Is this question genuine? I often see similar questions in various forums. Someone wants to know how to break into a computer because he has "forgotten the password," "let his little sister/dog use the PC," etc. The mention of Dell support makes it doubly suspicious.

When I had similar problems with a Dell PC at work, I contacted Dell and, once they were satisfied with ownership of the PC, they gave me a default password. No messing around with removing CMOS battery backup cells, etc. This probably would not work with modern Dells anyway -- the BIOS password is held in flash, so it is not reset once the battery is removed. Hence my suspicion that the question was either not genuine or you were being spun a yarn about contacting Dell support.

Alfred N. writes:
Dell uses a jumper on the motherboard for the password security. Remove jumper, turn on PC (check BIOS here, if you like), turn off PC, replace jumper.

Related information from SearchWindowsSecurity.com:
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  • Tip: Expert how-tos: Creating strong passwords
  • Free Download: Login Recovery
  • RSS: Sign up for our RSS feed to receive expert advice for securing Windows
  • Dig Deeper on User passwords and network permissions

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