How do you recover lost CMOS passwords?

Question

Hi, a friend gave me a laptop to reinstall a new operating system on it and he has not used in a long time and so forgot the CMOS password. I have looked on the motherboard for a jumper and I dont see any. Also I have removed the battery for long periods of time and still I get nothing. Is there any way that you could help me? Please let me know. It is a OmniBook 900 by HP. Thanks again for your time.

Sincerely,

Jesse Albin

Answer

This question was answered on September 10, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Forcing the Bios-CMOS to be Reset to Default Values:

There are two ways to approach forcing the Bios/CMOS to be reset to its default values: Option #1: Mechanically, by removing all power to the Bios/CMOS thereby forcing it to reset itself to its stored defaults, which include no password or the default password employed by the Bios manufacturer, and Option #2: Using a program to either locate and identify the password and reveal it to you or erasing the password entirely These are referred to as password by-pass utilities or cracks Let's look at Option #1 first, and then move on to Option #2 if necessary.

Option #1: Mechanically Removing the Password

Most motherboards manufactured over the last decade or more use a battery to sustain the dynamic Bios/CMOS settings for the motherboards PROM chip These dynamic settings are those manually set by either the computers manufacturer or you, the user There are two ways to erase these dynamic settings, by either resetting a jumper on the motherboard itself (referred to as a "clear CMOS" jumper), or by physically remove the power from the computer (disconnecting the power plug) and then removing a battery (used to maintain power to the PROM chip that contains the Bios/CMOS information) from the motherboard.

Option 2: What to do if changing jumpers or removing batteries doesn't work:

On some motherboards there are no jumpers to be moved and the battery may be soldered into place and cannot be removed There may also be those occasions where moving jumpers or removing batteries just won't work This is often the case on early motherboards

In these instances, there are three additional options to be considered

Option #1:

You can physically remove the Bios/CMOS PROM chip from the motherboard and send it either to the motherboard manufacturer or a Bios developer for replacement of flashing You can also send the entire motherboard to a facility experienced in these operations

Option #2:

If the motherboard has a flash updateable Bios/CMOS PROM chip, then you can download a fresh Bios update and re-flash the PROM to eliminate the password

Option #3:

As mentioned earlier, there are programs (utilities) and (cracks) that can be used to try and either identify the password or remove it forcibly from the PROM chip

Here are the links (copy and paste them)

AMI Password viewer: http://www.dewassoc.com/download/BiosPass/ami passwd viewer with source.zip

AMI1(Early Password Viewer - 1994 version): http://www.dewassoc.com/download/BiosPass/ami1.zip

AMI2(Password Viewer - 1995 and later): http://www.dewassoc.com/download/BiosPass/ami2.zip

Award Flash Utility: http://www.dewassoc.com/download/BiosPass/awardflash.zip

Award Early password viewer: http://www.dewassoc.com/download/BiosPass/award.zip

Award Later password viewer: http://www.dewassoc.com/download/BiosPass/award1.zip

Award Latest password viewer: http://www.dewassoc.com/download/BiosPass/award2.zip

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Author

Posted by Student of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on September 10, 2003