The bios can be protected with a password to prevent third parties from accessing and modifying its settings. You have to enter the password to access it, and if you can't provide the correct one the access gets denied. This can be useful if you want to prevent users from booting from CDs or USB devices among other things.
The following method describes a way to recover the password if you forgot it or bought a used computer with a set bios password, or if you are working in a company and need to get into the BIOS but the records of the password are no longer available.
CmosPwd is a free program that displays information about the system's bios once it is executed. You do need to create a bootable disk to execute the program in dos mode. To create a bootable disk in Windows right-click the disk drive and select format from the list of options. It is important that you enable the option Create an MS-DOS startup disk.
Once the disk is created copy the contents from the dos folder of cmospwd to the disk and restart the computer. You will have to remove all hard drives from the system if you do not automatically boot from disk drive. Type cmospwd.exe in the command line and the password should appear. Ignore the information about the other bios manufacturers and take a look at the one your computer is using.
Please note that this message only works if the computer is configured to boot from floppy disk and if a floppy is connected to it. If the boot option is limited to the hard drive for instance, you can't use alternative boot media for this operation.
Another possible method is be to start the computer in safe mode with command prompt which could work as well. You still need to access the files somewhere so make sure that the hard drive is accessible.
Most computers do not have a floppy disk drive anymore. You can alternatively check out a list of BIOS password backdoors here.
You can alternatively try and remove the CMOS battery of the bios which does take care of the bios password but also of all settings. The last method will work a 100% of the times but is also a dead giveaway that someone modified the computer's password.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.