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08-11-2009 10:59 AM
My girlfriend bought factory sealed a Compaq Presario 2190US from BestBuy in 2003. I recently did some upgrade to her notebook (faster CPU, internal wifi with wiring, new HD, more memory, BIOS update) and found out that the bios is protected by a password that prevents access to the settings: the computer works fine, there is no boot up bios password or HDD password that prevents the use of the computer, but a "bios access" password. She is positive she never set it (she would not even know how) and nobody else used her computer, no technician, friends, nobody.
The computer works, but not been able to access the bios settings is a major annoyance. In particular after the last bios flash update there is a default "slow boot" enabled that takes 2 minutes at every boot to check the 1GB ram, and no way to turn it off unlsess I go inside the bios settings, which I cannot do.
I did a lot of research online with no success. Things I tried (note I am an advanced computer techincians myself) are:
1) Download original Presario service manual, where there is a specific page where the procedure to recover bios password is discussed. It involves calling HP and submit proof of ownership, which we have. I contacted HP, but after a dozen of attempts, (the phone operators either know knowthing, or suggest usless basic attempts, they even hanged up on me!! HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE HP, SORRY!), finally one of the operator confirmed that AFTER FIVE YEARS THEY COMPLETELY DROP THE SUPPORT OF THEIR LAPTOP. Not the free support, but ALL SUPPORT. Regardless that I am willing to pay a fee for this service and I am the original buyer, they just drop the customer, goodbye, don't even call us! Only one (nice) operator suggested to go back to where I bought it (BestBuy), where Geek Squad "might" take care of it (more on this below)
2) I completely disassembly the laptop (I had to anyway); I removed the RTC button battery for 24h; put it back in and power up, (various attempts, with or without the button battery in place): the bios password request when I try to access the bios settings is still there
3) tried the common backdoor passwords that can be found online: BIOS, bios, CMOS, cmos, compaq, phoenix, etc etc, in all combination of case. I also tried every, I mean every password that my gf use and used in the past, just in case. No luck, after three attempts the computer shuts down.
4) I looked in the motherboard for jumpers (ala clear CMOS jumper) or visible contacts to short, none to be found
5) flashed the bios to the latest version (1.73). bios was updated but the password request stays. (BTW: original winbased utility fried the bios and made it unusable: I had to resuscitate it with a crisis floppy disk and putting jumpers in the parallel port, as described in the manual)
6) Understanding that the password is stored in a separate EEPROM chip from the bios chip (like in most DELL laptops), I looked for that chip (in Dell computer is an 8 pin 240C-something) to possibly short it at boot, but I could not find it (Is there one? Where is it??)
7) I used typical software like killcmos, biosPW, clearbios, nothing. Password is encrypted and not stored in the typical cmos memory used by the bios (btw, Phoenix 4.0 rev 6). I also used the DOS debug commands (o 70 FF, etc etc), no luck.
8) After entering the wrong password three times on a row the computer shuts down. But if I press F12 at any moment at the password promp, I see a "System Hash Code", in my case 08866. I understand from other postings that this is a key to retrieve the password, or a generic backdoor password.
Following the suggestion of old posts in this forums, I got my hands on the old (secret) HP utilities unlock6.exe, bios_pw.exe, hdd_pw.exe. By entering the "system hash code" in these utilites I can generate several passwords, unfortunately none of those work. The older unlock6 is dated 1997. The Hdd_PW utility is dated 2003, as old as our laptop, but it does not work either.
The only other option we seem to have now, is to give the computer to Geek Squad, and they will ship it to their HQ in Kansas. They want a deposit of $85 and the typical turnaround is two weeks, but they cannot guarantee the fix, nor forecast how much is going to cost eventually (200? 250? They cannot tell!)
Any suggestion? I bet the GeekSquad technicians can do only two things: either use a newer password generating utility than the one I have (or the correct one for this compuiter model) to generate a master password from my hash code (again, 08866), OR short some contact in the motherboard (figure out which one!), or replace the EEPROM chip (again not the bios chip, who knows where it is).
Can anybody help us? Again my girlfriend is the original and only owner of the computer, bought factory sealed, we have proof of ownership (original bestbuy receipt).
Does anybody know a master / generic password that work in this computer?
Can anybody generate it from my hash code 08866 ?
Does anybody know where is the password EEPROM chip located, and possibly how to reset it?
Does any of the Dell password-removal practices or utilities work in this Compaq model, and if so which one?
Does anybody know of a Manhattan-based repair center where some knowledgable technicians can help us, beside shipping everything to GeekSquad with no expectation of success?
Thank you everybody in advance for your help
08-25-2009 08:49 AM
I am happy to say that I solved my problem. When I was about to desolder the eeprom chip that stores the password and replace it with another one, somebody in this forum posted a reply where they suggested the email of a company that for 25 euro solved my problem generating a password for me from the hash code.
That reply is now gone, perhaps deleted from the moderators of this forum? If so well, great service HP again!!! Not just you drop your loyal original costumer after 5 years, but you also delete the only useful help that could come from other sources, in this case a user that suggested the services of a totally legitimate company.
A very upset customer.
10-16-2009 02:46 AM
A. By Using the Motherboard Jumper:
In most motherboards CMOS battery is soldered, which makes it difficult to remove the battery. In this case we use another method.
Almost all motherboards contain a jumper that can clear all CMOS settings along with the BIOS password. The location of this jumper varies depending upon the motherboard brand. You should read your motherboard manual to check its location. If you don't have the manual then look for the jumpers near the CMOS battery. Most of the manufacturer label the jumper as CLR, CLEAR, CLEAR CMOS, etc.
When you find the jumper, look carefully. There will be 3 pins and the jumper will be joining the center pin to either left or right pin. What you need to do, is remove the jumper and join the center pin to the opposite pin. e.g. if the jumper joins center pin to left pin, then remove it and join center pin to right pin. Now wait for a few seconds and then again remove the jumper and join the center pin to left pin.
Make sure to turn the PC off before opening the cabinet and resetting the jumper.
B. By Using Software:
I have found that BIOS/CMOS Password Recovery Tool is the most effective.:
BIOS/CMOS Password Recovery Tool is a program that works instantly to remove any lost or forgotten BIOS/CMOS password. Simply boot your PC to DOS and execute the program, and get access to forgotten BIOS/CMOS passwords in just seconds
BIOS/CMOS Password Recovery Tool Service: http://www.biospasswordrecovery.com/
01-28-2010 03:27 PM
I have the same problem and can not find out how to reset the BIOS password so I can get into the BIOS. Also, when I try to add the floppy to the sequence for CDROM, Hard Drive, etc., it agains ask for password. I need good solid help being i AM NOT AN EXPERT IN COMPUTERS -- HAVE SOME KNOWLEDGE.
11-17-2011 02:38 PM
I encounter same problem on same PR-2100 today,
after surfing thru google, come to your post,
then carefully reading your post, item 1 to item 8,
oh, you almost try everything could be done, ...
I have same experience on other notebook(Toshiba, IBM, etc) with some password problem some months ago, try booting from CD/FDD to run clear_cmos program, or try find jumper or remove CMOS Battery, all come to failure,
there are many discussion on PhoenixBIOS version 4.0 rev 6, also Phoenix FirstBIOS 2.0,
but seem not helpful to any end user.
especial in your item 8, you say you have tried DOS/unlock6 program, and fail,
I do the same thing and get same result.
Later I try other program, pwgen-5dec.exe (2243K), ( or surfing thru google to get pwgen-5dec.zip, 2234K, windows program, no need to install),
it ask for 5 digits hash code, and return 7 hashing results,the second one (3 chars:wwq) works
Please enter the number:
08866 <== the one you ask on your post
Brute forcing passwords...
Generic Phoenix BIOS: geo
HP/Compaq Phoenix BIOS: wwq <== The one I try on my PR-2100, and work,
FSI Phoenix BIOS (generic): 5471981
FSI Phoenix BIOS ('L' model): 462542
FSI Phoenix BIOS ('P' model): 9999566
FSI Phoenix BIOS ('S' model): 7714498
FSI Phoenix BIOS ('X' model): 6984197
Two Years After your post, the late responce shall do no help to you at all.
Try fixing an old and out-of-date computer seems not valuable,
But I hope if others still find interesting in fixing equipment,
the message will give user a hope to last their PC/NB.
Hope the Post won't be removed by HP, because break password always be a tabu.
Above program (pwgen-5dec.zip) is not 100% to any PhoenixBIOS 4.0 rev 6 as I try on other machine, there are currently three kind of passwords on BIOS, Supervisor/User/HDD,
with two constraint Enter-BIOS/Boot-PC, I still fail for Hitachi-HDD-Password on IBM Laptop,
it almost lead to remove the eeprom and solder new one with correct default checksum to save the notebook, but for the password locked Hitachi HDD, (S.M.A.R.T), they say only using special machine to read dedicate disk surface to get password,
otherwise no way to re-format that HDD when both Master/User Password were set.
Good days to everyone