As an IT administrator for the past few years, there have been times when I have overdone security a little and do something to lock myself out at the computer. One example is setting a BIOS or CMOS password that I will never remember.
If you can’t remember your BIOS or CMOS password, you’re screwed up badly because you can’t even boot Windows. I previously wrote about a way to reset a BIOS password with several different methods that should be tried in this situation first.
I recently came across another program that you can use to recover CMOS or BIOS password. CMOSPwd runs under Dos, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003, Linux, FreeBSD, and NetBSD.
The program basically decrypts the password stored in the CMOS, which is used to access the BIOS setup. This program will not work with all available BIOSes, but here are the ones it will work with:
- ACER / IBM BIOS
- AMI BIOS
- AMI WinBIOS 2.5
- Award 4.5x / 4.6x / 6.0
- Compaq (1992)
- Compaq (new version)
- IBM (PS / 2, Activa, Thinkpad)
- Packard Bell
- Phoenix 1.00.09.AC0 (1994), a486 1.03, 1.04, 1.10 A03, 4.05 rev 1.02.943, 4.06 Version 1.13.1107
- Phoenix 4 Release 6 (User)
- Gateway Solo – Phoenix 4.0 Release 6
- Zenith AMI
If you are lucky enough to have one of them, you can easily recover your password. The program requires a little command line to use, so make sure you are familiar with it before using it.
You will receive a list of features that can be compared with the manufacturer’s BIOS.
To recover the password, you need to write down the value to the right of the BIOS you installed, and then you must enter cmospwd / m [xxx] to start the module. If that doesn’t work, you can disable the BIOS with the / k switch.
However, DO NOT kill CMOS if you are recovering laptop password. On laptop computers, the CMOS password is usually stored in the EEPROM on the motherboard, so you’ll need an EEPROM programmer to recover it.
Since the program is a little difficult to use, be sure to read the instructions provided in advance. Enjoy!