09 December 2017

Forgot BIOS password and removing CMOS battery does not work?

In the "good old days", if you forgot your BIOS password, all you had to do was open up the computer, remove the CMOS battery or remove the jumper near the battery and your CMOS password would get reset to no password.

That's changed now. I recently reset my laptop to CMOS factory default settings, saved and exited, and it asked for a password the next time I wanted to enter the CMOS settings. I had not even set a password!!!

Opening up the laptop and finding the CMOS battery was an interesting proposition, so I did just that. Removed the battery, replaced it after 30 seconds, put back all components, started the laptop and it still asked for a password. Darn! Going through the laptop manual showed that the battery had to be removed and kept aside for at least an hour.
Ok good. So I did that. Waited for more than an hour, put back all components, started the laptop and bang. There was the password prompt again!
Turns out that there was a person who even kept the battery aside for three months and yet the password didn't reset. It's likely to be stored in a more permanent location in memory in today's computers.

The solution:
After a lot of anxious searching, I found this website. The ultimate guide to resetting the BIOS password.
Turns out that when you take your computer to the official service people, they don't need to know your BIOS password or hack into it with brute force techniques.
They simply use a default password that the manufacturer programs into the motherboard. These are called backdoor codes.

So all you have to do is try out some of the openly available backdoor codes on the website, and if that doesn't work, then try entering some random password three times and your BIOS password prompt will show you a number. Enter that number into this website https://bios-pw.org/ and it'll show you the backdoor password for your BIOS.

That's it! I was able to access my CMOS settings screen again and this time I set my own password.
Do try this before you take your laptop to some service person who'd use the same simple technique and then charge you a bomb because you'd think they used some super secret hacking technique to elegantly solve your problem for you.

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