Recover a BIOS Password on Your PC - dummies

By Dan Gookin

If you are troubleshooting your PC and need to take action at the BIOS level, you will need the BIOS password. If you have forgotten the BIOS password, check with the motherboard manufacturer (or your computer dealer) to see whether a backdoor password is available. For example, the Phoenix-brand motherboard has the backdoor password PHOENIX, which you can type at the BIOS password prompt to gain access to the computer.

An ancient solution to resetting the BIOS password was to open the computer’s case and then remove and replace the motherboard’s battery. Doing so erases the nonvolatile memory and resets the password. That solution may not work on newer PCs that feature flash memory rather than a CMOS.

Some motherboards feature a jumper, which can be removed or reset to erase or disable the password. That operation involves opening the PC’s case and determining where the jumper is, which is annoying and all the more reason not to bother with the BIOS password in the first place.

  • To find out which motherboard you use, pay close attention to your PC’s splash screen. The motherboard (or chipset) manufacturer, as well as the version number, is often displayed. If that doesn’t work, contact your dealer for support and write down on this book’s inside front cover the specifics for your computer’s motherboard model number or type and the chipset version.

  • Backdoor passwords are widely known and published extensively on the web. That makes them seriously unsecure.

  • Do not use the BIOS password. The mere fact that it’s so easy to recover from a missing BIOS password means that the thing is utterly useless in the first place. Trust me: Even if you don’t know how to recover a BIOS password, the bad guys most certainly do!