April 22nd, 2012
BIOS passwords can add an extra layer of security for desktop and laptop computers. They are used to either prevent a user from changing the BIOS settings or to prevent the PC from booting without a password. Unfortunately, BIOS passwords can also be a liability if a user forgets their password, or changes the password to intentionally lock out the corporate IT department. Sending the unit back to the manufacturer to have the BIOS reset can be expensive and is usually not covered in the warranty. Never fear, all is not lost. There are a few known backdoors and other tricks of the trade that can be used to bypass or reset the BIOS.
Before attempting to bypass the BIOS password on a computer, please take a minute to contact the hardware manufacturer support staff directly and ask for their recommended methods of bypassing the BIOS password security. In the event the manufacturer cannot (or will not) help you, there are a number of methods that can be used to bypass or reset the BIOS password yourself. They include:
- Using a manufacturers backdoor password to access the BIOS.
- Use password cracking software.
- Reset the CMOS using the jumpers or solder beads.
- Removing the CMOS battery for at least 10 minutes.
Please remember that most BIOS passwords do not protect the hard drive, so if you need to recover the data, simply remove the hard drive and install it in an identical system, or configure it as a slave drive in an existing system. The exception to this are laptops, especially IBM Thinkpads, which silently lock the hard drive if the supervisor password is enabled. If the supervisor password is reset without resetting and hard drive as well, you will be unable to access the data on the drive.
Method 1: Using Backdoor BIOS passwords
Many BIOS manufacturers have provided backdoor passwords that can be used to access the BIOS setup in the event you have lost your password. These passwords are case sensitive, so you may wish to try a variety of combinations. Keep in mind that the key associated to “_” in the US keyboard corresponds to “?” in some European keyboards. Laptops typically have better BIOS security than desktop systems, and we are not aware of any backdoor passwords that will work with name brand laptops.
Award BIOS backdoor passwords:
ALFAROME, ALLy, aLLY, ALLY, aPAf _award, AWARD_SW, AWARD?SW, AWARD SW, AWARD PW, AWKWARD, awkward, BIOSTAR, CONCAT, CONDO, Condo, d8on, djonet, HLT J64, J256, J262, j332, j322, KDD Lkwpeter, LKWPETER, PINT, pint, SER, SKY_FOX, SYXZ, syxz shift + syxz, TTPTHA, ZAAADA, ZBAAACA, ZJAAADC, 01322222, 589589, 589721, 595595, 598598 Post by CompTricks.com
AMI BIOS backdoor passwords:
AMI, AAAMMMIII, BIOS, PASSWORD, HEWITT, RAND, AMI?SW, AMI_SW, LKWPETER, A.M.I., CONDO
PHOENIX BIOS backdoor passwords:
phoenix, PHOENIX, CMOS, BIOS
Misc. common passwords
ALFAROME, BIOSTAR, biostar biosstar, CMOS, cmos, LKWPETER, lkwpeter, setup, SETUP, Syxz, Wodj
Other passwords by computer Manufacturers
VOBIS & IBM : merlin
Dell : Dell
Biostar : Biostar
Compaq : Compaq
Enox : xo11nE or central
Freetech : Posterie
IWill : iwill
Jetway : spooml
Packard Bell : bell9
QDI : QDI
Siemens : SKY_FOX
TMC : BIGO
Toshiba : Toshiba
(Most Toshiba laptops and some desktop systems will bypass the BIOS password if the left shift key is held down during boot.)
(IBM APTIVA BIOS – Press both mouse buttons repeatedly during the boot)
Some of manufacturer hasn’t revealed their backdoor password yet. So you have to wait for them.
Method 2: Using BIOS Password Cracking Software
The following software can be used to either crack or reset the BIOS on many chipsets. If your PC is locked with a BIOS administrator password that will not allow access to the floppy drive, these utilities may not work. Also, since these utilities do not come from the manufacturer, use them cautiously and at your own risk.
Method 3: Using the Motherboard “Clear CMOS” Jumper or Dipswitch settings
Many motherboards feature a set of jumpers or dipswitches that will clear the CMOS and wipe all of the custom settings including BIOS passwords. The locations of these jumpers / dipswitches will vary depending on the motherboard manufacturer and ideally you should always refer to the motherboard or computer manufacturers documentation. If the documentation is unavailable, the jumpers/dipswitches can sometimes be found along the edge of the motherboard, next to the CMOS battery, or near the processor. Some manufacturers may label the jumper / dipswitch CLEAR – CLEAR CMOS – CLR – CLRPWD – PASSWD – PASSWORD – PWD. On laptop computers, the dipswitches are usually found under the keyboard or within a compartment at the bottom of the laptop.
Please remember to unplug your PC and use a grounding strip before reaching into your PC and touching the motherboard. Once you locate and rest the jumper switches, turn the computer on and check if the password has been cleared. If it has, turn the computer off and return the jumpers or dipswitches to its original position.
Method 4: By Removing the CMOS Battery
The CMOS settings on most systems are buffered by a small battery that is attached to the motherboard. (It looks like a small watch battery). If you unplug the PC and remove the battery for 10-15 minutes, the CMOS may reset itself and the password should be blank. (Along with any other machine specific settings, so be sure you are familiar with manually reconfiguring the BIOS settings before you do this.) Some manufacturers backup the power to the CMOS chipset by using a capacitor, so if your first attempt fails, leave the battery out (with the system unplugged) for at least 24 hours. Some batteries are actually soldered onto the motherboard making this task more difficult. Unsoldering the battery incorrectly may damage your motherboard and other components, so please don’t attempt this if you are inexperienced. Another option may be to remove the CMOS chip from the motherboard for a period of time.
Note: Removing the battery to reset the CMOS will not work for all PC’s, and almost all of the newer laptops store their BIOS passwords in a manner which does not require continuous power, so removing the CMOS battery may not work at all. IBM Thinkpad laptops lock the hard drive as well as the BIOS when the supervisor password is set. If you reset the BIOS password, but cannot reset the hard drive password, you may not be able to access the drive and it will remain locked, even if you place it in a new laptop. IBM Thinkpads have special jumper switches on the motherboard, and these should be used to reset the system.