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bypass_bios_password - PC HACKS 100 Industrial-Strength...

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PC HACKS Jim Aspinwall 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools TM
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4 | Chapter 1, Basic System Board Hacks # 2 Bypass the BIOS Password HACK H A C K #2 Bypass the BIOS Password Hack #2 Recover from a CMOS memory-affecting virus or work around a boot-time password by making BIOS forget all it once knew. A PC goes through a process when it is first turned on: the Power-On Self- Test, or P.O.S.T. Some system boards provide security measures [Hack #1] that demand a password before beginning the P.O.S.T. process or allowing you into the BIOS setup program. The original IBM-PC (1981) did not provide any security measures or a BIOS setup program; all it had was a P.O.S.T. If you needed to configure a PC, you did it with switches and jumpers. A program to set up the system BIOS and configuration did not come along until the IBM-PC/AT (1984), and it had to be run from a special boot-up diskette. The idea of providing a user interface and access to the system configuration settings within the BIOS did not come along until about 1986. Today no PC system is made without this valuable built-in setup feature. Eventually, the security feature of password-protecting access to the system came along. If, after turning on your PC, you are prompted for a password instead of greeted with a fancy logo screen or the technical gibberish that suggests the system is getting ready to let you use it, then a security feature has been turned on that we call a “pre-boot password.” Without the right password to get past this point, the system is basically dead in the water—game over, do not pass go and collect $200—unless or until you reset the BIOS setting. But how do you do that without getting past the password to the setup pro- gram? This hack is also very effective for putting the system board back into “factory stupid” mode where it knows nothing about your system components and forgets all of your parameter tweaks. This is very useful if you’ve performed a hack that renders the system unbootable or unstable.
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