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DrKlahn
DrKlahn, Hardware Engineer
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 1868
Experience:  BSci: Electrical Engr., Industrial Engr, and Computer Sci.
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Ihave a dell inspiron 5520 I forgot my password XXXXX it locked

Customer Question

Ihave a dell inspiron 5520 I forgot my password XXXXX it locked me out it reads system disabled 24D8D9A51c93AA9B. Servise tag HDJYDS1dont know what else to do. I've tooken the whole coputer apart down to the mother board looking for jumper cables that might reset the password. I also tooken out the cmos battery and put in anew one because I read it might do the trick . Need it fixed asap .
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Computer
Expert:  DrKlahn replied 1 year ago.

DrKlahn :

Thanks for using JustAnswer, the internet's independent site for Q&A consulting. I'm "DrKlahn," and I'd like to help you with this question.

Notice / disclosure: JustAnswer is a commercial Q&A site not associated with Dell, or with any computer hardware or software manufacturer. The "9 second" banner ad means that the site answers 400 questions per hour - not that questions are answered in 9 seconds.

Please send me a short message when you're online and ready to begin.

DrKlahn :

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

The system indicates that you're a new user on the site, so at any time, do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have about how things work.

Is there anything you would like to ask before we proceed with your question?

DrKlahn :

Hello? Are we connected?

DrKlahn :

If you're having trouble with chat, please first try using your browser's "Reload" button to reload this session.

If that fails, try this: Bookmark (Firefox) or Favorite (Internet Explorer) this page in your browser. Close this window. Return to this page using the bookmark. This usually solves stubborn chat problems.

Then send me a short message to indicate the chat issue is resolved.

DrKlahn :

If you are still unable to chat, try using a different browser. Some versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer do not work well with chat.

Customer :

Im good

DrKlahn :

Good. I'm afraid that I have bad news for you today.

Customer :

Im ready

DrKlahn :

Your Dell cannot be unlocked without assistance from Dell. Depending on how recent your system is, they may be able to give you an unlock code over the phone. If it is within the last two years and incorporates the Trusted Platform Module, it may have to go to a local Dell-authorized technician or a regional repair center. Let me give you the background behind this so that you can understand the reason for this issue not being easily solvable.

DrKlahn :

If the laptop was built in the last 10 years, it is not possible to clear the password by pulling batteries or using an override password. Let me give you the background on why this is now the case.

Historically:

Early laptop passwords could be cleared simply by changing a jumper or removing the backup battery. This was clearly no deterrent to theft. The US government, other governments and companies that issued laptops to their employees demanded security that could not be defeated.

Better security, stage 1

Manufacturers abandoned keeping BIOS passwords in BIOS RAM in the early 2000s. It had become clear by that time that laptop theft was actually encouraged by setting "security" passwords that could be cleared simply in a few minutes. The same problem was true of override passwords, which became instantly known among laptop thieves.

BIOS passwords are now kept in separate, encrypted, secure non-volatile flash EPROM and no amount of fiddling with the hardware will recover or un-set them.

I've written a short treatment on the topic which can be found at the link below, and I encourage you to read it.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Laptops_Notebooks/PC_Laptops/A_5193-Dealing-With-Laptop-BIOS-Passwords.html

Early laptops and 'challenge hashes':

Some older laptops shows a "challenge hash" of numbers and/or letters, usually after entering a wrong password three times. For these systems the manufacturer can (and some businesses on the internet claim to be able to) compute an override password. The cost varies, depending on whether the manufacturer considers this a service to a distressed customer or an opportunity to capitalize on an emergency situation. The cost is usually $US 100 or more.

New systems:

If the system doesn't show a challenge hash, the only solution is in hardware. Here the road forks. Older systems do not have TPM (the Trusted Platform Module); newer ones do.

For a system without TPM there are two options. One is to ship it back to the manufacturer. Proof of ownership is required, and may be hard to obtain for an older system. Again, the cost depends on whether the manufacturer regards this as a service or a profit-making opportunity. Figure at least $US 150 plus shipping charges both ways.

The other option is to ship it to a service company that will disassemble the system, physically remove the password EPROM, replace it with one that has no password, and reassemble the system. Figure at least $100 plus shipping charges both ways.

In either case, it is frequently cheaper to simply purchase a replacement notebook on ebay, swap the drive from the old system into the new one, and sell the old one as as "working but locked" for parts on ebay.

Better security, stage 2:

For general information on TPM, see the Wikipedia article below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trusted_Platform_Module

Systems that incorporate the Trusted Platform Module must be returned to the manufacturer for rebuilding. The TPM is so tightly intertwined with the system's hardware that attempting to defeat it will render the laptop unusable.

We have now arrived at a state where a properly configured laptop with TPM is completely useless to the thief. Nevertheless, since laptop batteries and other parts such as screens and disk drives have a significant resale value, the problem is going to persist into the foreseeable future.


DrKlahn :

Let me know when you've read the above, and we can consider how to proceed.

Customer :

What is my besy option and the fastest?

DrKlahn :

The quickest option is to contact Dell customer support. Let me get you that information --

DrKlahn :

Dell customer support. State your system is locked with a hardware password. You must be able to prove ownership. 800-624-9896. There is generally no charge for systems in warranty. In 2008, the charge was $50 for out-of-warranty.
Ownership transfer: http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/change_order/tag_transfer
Warranty check: http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/my_systems_info/details

DrKlahn :

If you are the registered owner of the system, they will be able to help you immediately. If not, they will require supporting information to prove that you are the owner of the system.

DrKlahn :

Is this the information you're seeking?

DrKlahn :

I've locked the Rating panel until it's clear that we have an acceptable solution that's workable for you. Does this solution appear to be both acceptable and workable?

DrKlahn :

Hello? Are we still connected?

DrKlahn :

(note 09:22 22-Jan-2013 -- Lost chat communication ca. 09:15. Save&wait pending customer reconnecting to session)

Customer :

Yes Thankyou both were perfect

DrKlahn :

Thank you. For some reason I was not notified that you were waiting in this session, and I apologize for that oversight.

DrKlahn :

I'll bring in the closing information so that you can close this session at your convenience.

DrKlahn :

If anything in this answer is unclear, or you'd like something explained in more detail, don't hesitate to ask.

If this answer is unsatisfactory for any reason, do not rate or accept it. A bad rating does not issue a refund. If you want a refund, ask me and I'll help you get one immediately.

Closing a question does not mean our support has ended. You can continue to post comments or ask related questions in this session until the question eventually expires and is archived.

I've unlocked the Rating panel / Accept button so that you can now close this question at your convenience. Thank you for using JustAnswer; it's been my pleasure to serve you today. We'll hope to see you again at some time in the future; between now and then, I wish you a pleasant day and a quick solution to this problem.

DrKlahn :

I'll be online for at least the next hour (it is currently 1:30 PM Central time) in case there are any issues remaining, or something that I can help you with. Don't hesitate to follow up or ask further questions.

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