BIOS Passwords

I have noticed a pattern over time.

Most people don’t set their BIOS passwords. But every once and a while, I come across somebody who did set a BIOS password.

That isn’t surprising, though. Most people have no idea what the BIOS is.

What is surprising is that none of these people seem to know what a BIOS password actually does, or what their BIOS password is… even though they set it in the first place.

Granted, there is selection bias here. All these cases are were brought to me after somebody realized they didn’t know how to fix their own problems. Nobody that knows what a BIOS password is and remembers what they set it to comes to me.

Still… what is their reasoning? I don’t really know how people end up doing this. I remember one particular case where somebody forgot their Windows password, and in the process of trying to reset it, set a BIOS password instead. Somehow. And then couldn’t tell me what the BIOS password was, even, which makes fixing the actual problem more difficult as well.

Worse, I don’t know how to reset the BIOS password in most cases. Contacting the manufacturer and proving ownership of the device is a possibility, but also a hassle. Most resources online suggest either a reset jumper or taking out the CMOS battery. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck with that working on laptops, and it seems the only solution left is finding information online about what algorithm is used to generate the backdoor codes that the manufacturer would give you. It is only secure because it is obscure, but in my experience it actually is pretty obscure, which makes things difficult.

So, in summary… users are interesting.


Jacob Clarity


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