Secure BIOS?

Dr Death

War Hero
Seems an old laptop we have been given has Secure BIOS on the CMOS and this prevents the BIOS being changed. When you go in to Diskpart using DOS prompts it gets as far as format then stops at 18% with an invalid error? We seem to be not getting anywhere and do not have the password to get in to secure BIOS?

Its a 5 year old Dell laptop and we think the BIOS was flashed or upgraded with the Secure BIOS Protection to stop users from accessing it? It now means we can not format even in DOS?

The original password for Windows 8 is long gone so presumably it is for the bin?
 
I think you're doing the right thing asking random spods on the Internet and not wasting Dell's valuable time.
 
Seems an old laptop we have been given has Secure BIOS on the CMOS and this prevents the BIOS being changed. When you go in to Diskpart using DOS prompts it gets as far as format then stops at 18% with an invalid error? We seem to be not getting anywhere and do not have the password to get in to secure BIOS?

Its a 5 year old Dell laptop and we think the BIOS was flashed or upgraded with the Secure BIOS Protection to stop users from accessing it? It now means we can not format even in DOS?

The original password for Windows 8 is long gone so presumably it is for the bin?
Most of the old systems with "Secure BIOS" will have a jumper on the MB to remove which will blank the passwords for reset. Usually labeled PSWD just to be ambiguous.
 
Most of the old systems with "Secure BIOS" will have a jumper on the MB to remove which will blank the passwords for reset. Usually labeled PSWD just to be ambiguous.
Maybe not on a laptop. There used to be a utility called KILLCMOS that you booted to from a floppy disk. Maybe see if there's a USB bootable version? I appreciate that you may not be able to choose your boot device, though.

If you are, I think Hiren 2018 (have a google) has some CMOS resetting tools.

EDIT:

 
Maybe not on a laptop. There used to be a utility called KILLCMOS that you booted to from a floppy disk. Maybe see if there's a USB bootable version? I appreciate that you may not be able to choose your boot device, though.

If you are, I think Hiren 2018 (have a google) has some CMOS resetting tools.

EDIT:

Yes. You are correct, newer laptops will not have the jumper. For them you remove the charging cable, the power pack, and the CMOS battery and then hold the power button for a while to ensure you drain all the residual power left in the capacitors. Pesky passwords in NVRAM will then disappear.
 
Just take the drive out - put it in a caddy and format it on another computer - problem solved.

You can also dump/reprogram a BIOS using Arduino with flashrom software - or using a Raspberry Pi with OpenOCD. Just take the BIOS chip out - read to a bin file and open that with a hex editor to see if you can see the password in plain text. Failing that just reprogram the Bios chip.

Example:



On raspberry pi you can also use openocd - I've used this and flashrom to recover from bad flashes on routers and modems.

Also have a read of this: CMOS passwords can usually just be cleared by removing the battery or settings jumper:
 
Last edited:
The Motherboard should have a battery cell somewhere, remove that and try and power up, then put the battery back and that should fix it
 

Dr Death

War Hero
I think you're doing the right thing asking random spods on the Internet and not wasting Dell's valuable time.
5 yr old 2nd user laptop & you think dell will offer advice, for free?

Dell website for what it is worth states the CMOS battery is on the other side of the Motherboard.
You have to take the whole thing apart and sadly it seems welded to the case, however thank you for your considerable time and effort as much appreciated as ever!
 

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