I need a password to turn the computer on!

I have a computer and, to make a long story short, whenever I turn the computer on a black and white screen asks me for a password.

The exact words [except for the made up number and anything in brackets]:

Hard disk #AAA11111111-111A [yes I made that number up] is protected by a password.
Enter the password or press <ESC> to exit.
(Disk remains locked if <ESC> is used)
Enter password: _ [blinking line]

*After I press ESC*:

No boot device available-
strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup utility
Press F5 to run onboard diagnostics

I am one hundred percent that there is Windows Vista installed. When turning the computer on I cannot use F8 to use the command prompt.


-The Doctor
That sounds like a BIOS password. What type of laptop is it? If you did not set the password and it is a Toshiba you will need to contact them and have one of their certified repair technicians fix it. This is a known bug in their BIOS that sets a password on the BIOS for no reason. Only they can fix it.
For the Toshiba's, that would require you to unsolder the battery. Even then it still doesnt recover it. I have seen people try to flash to a older and newer and it didnt help.

The only hope was to send it to Toshiba.
First things first, it isn't a laptop it is a desktop system. It is a DELL and I don't think it is an error. It is more of a security setting. I bought the computer.


I heard there is something I could remove on the motherboard. How difficult would this be to learn and what is the percentage of success if I actually did it?
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First things first. You never mentioned what type of system it was or its maker. So we had to start some where to get information.

2nd What your talking about is the CMOS Battery. For that you just open up the PC, remove the thing that looks like a watch batter for about a minute and put it back in.

Since it is a Dell it should remove this password, if and only if it is the BIOS Password.
It's what keeps the mobo chipsets' internal memory alive, so after you've removed the battery (or jumpered the CMOS reset pins, which you might see labelled on the mobo) you'll need to reset the basics (time date etc) which will all have been blanked.
Would I need to reload the operating system? Sorry if the "first things first" thing offended :frowning:.

Is there somewhere I can look for pictures on what to do to the motherboard? I am worried that I will unplug the wrong battery and totally screw up the system.

How can you tell if it is a BIOS password? I know that the password appears before Vista is booted.
There's only one battery and you can't miss it. It's a big 2cm diameter CR2032 3v Lithium button cell.
Right alongside it there will be a tiny jumper connecting 2 of 3 pins.
On my ASUS mobo it's labelled CLRTC, and has instuctions printed directly on the mobo (put on your most powerful reading specs). The instructions on mine say 1-2 standard 2-3 clear.
Switch the PC power off at the wall socket and/or at the power switch next to the mains supply on the back of the PC.
Leave the power lead connected to keep the PC chassis earthed.
Touch the bare metal of the chassis to earth any static charge accumulated on your body, to protect the components of your PC.
Remove the battery (it should just pop out of its holder), but check first whether your particular PC has a retaining strap over the battery which might need a jeweller's screwdriver to remove. (I haven't come across a PC that needs this, but I've seen watch batteries that do, so there's always a first time)
Note the position of the jumper and remove it then replug it across the 2 pins at the other end of the line of 3.
Leave it there for 10 seconds
Put it back in the position where you found it
Snap the battery back into its holder.
Switch the mains power back on, boot the system holding down whatever key gets you into the BIOS setup utility.
You'll need to set the time and date from scratch in the BIOS and re-customize anything you previously had changed from the default settings, which shouldn't be a lot unless you're an overclocker.
Your OS will not be affected at all (unless you don't reset the BIOS clock, in which case it will think it's 1980 or 1900 depending on the OS)
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Sorry, I am really bad at this :frowning:

Sorry, I still cannot find the battery. There are two motherboards on the Optiplex 330 Desktop System. One of them is orange and horizontal and the other one is larger and green (I assume it is here that the battery is located) I still cannot find it :frowning:. I may need to resort to a picture book or something. I guess I don't know what a battery looks like lol. I saw a lot of metal stubby things peeking out of the motherboard. None of them appeared to be removable or have removable pins. There probably is one. But I don't know where it is! Help!
Where are the pins located?

I have successfully found the battery; however, I cannot find the three pins which you had mentioned. Underneath the removed battery there is a two pronged metallic object. Are the pins near the battery? Sorry I couldn't find this earlier. Can you help?Thanks! -The Doctor
Removing the battery for a minute or so should do it. The jumpers are there if you don't fell like wiping out all of your BIOS settings removing the battery.
I tried removing the battery

I removed the battery. I waited for more than a minute (I used a stopwatch) and replaced the battery to where I took it from. I turned on the computer and the BIOS password still needs to be entered in order for me to access my OS!
On that picture I linked in post #11, there's a jumper marked as 9 RTCRST ( RTC reset) which would appear to be the Dell equivalent of my ASUS CLRTC (clear RTC).
There's also a PSWD jumper marked as 10, which sounds like it's just what you need. Move the jumper to the other end, and the BIOS password should be disabled.
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