Re: problem- help

From: David Dickinson [MVP] (
Date: 05/19/02

From: "David Dickinson [MVP]" <>
Date: Sun, 19 May 2002 11:59:42 -0600

Sharon wrote:
> I have a small computer problem which I hope you can help
> me with.
> I have just bought a second hand IBM Aptiva computer. The
> trouble is, when I turn it on, after it carries out the
> memory check, it asks me for a password. I have no idea
> what this password is, how can I turn this off. If you
> enter this password wrong 3 times then it tells you that
> your system is now locked and you must turn it off at the
> mains and start again.
> I would be grateful if you could help me.
> Many thanks

This question doesn't seem to have much to do with the security of Microsoft
products, so I'm not sure why you are asking it here. However, it sounds
like the previous owner set a boot password in the BIOS. There are several

1. Call the previous owner to find out what the password is.

2. Get a BIOS password cracker for your version (AMI, Award, Pheonix... I
don't remember which manufacturer IBM used. I had one client with an
Aptiva, and that was one too many).

3. Turn the computer off. Open up the box and, using the manual for the
motherboard (if you got it with the computer -- this is too often missing in
sales of used computers), look for a jumper to reset the BIOS (most
motherboards have one). Switch the jumper position for half a minute. Put
the jumper back to its normal setting. Turn the computer on.

4. Turn the computer off. Open up the box and remove the battery from the
motherboard for a few minutes. Turn the computer on.

If you use either of methods 3 or 4 then you will have to set up the BIOS
again. You might consider hiring a qualified technician to configure your
machine in any case. It's like buying a used car: you shouldn't do it
without having a qualified mechanic look at it first even if the price is
low. Your life (or your wallet) may depend on it.

David Dickinson, MVP (Security)
EveningStar Information Services
Las Cruces, NM USA
Summary of Microsoft Security Bulletins