Hello to all nice and helpfull people,
I am havin a complicated situation whit a legacy laptop. It's a Thinkpad 760. I really wanted to use a compact flash adapter with it to boot linux. The whole conception of diskless laptop sounds really cool and I was very happy to buy one PCMCIA CF adapter for my purproses, but was feeling quite f***ed from IBM when I discovered something - the laptop has Supervisor password. It's the most stupid thing I ever heard - I mean even with it i could use my hard drive and everything else, but can't change any of the BIOS's settings - so why the ****** had IBM to think of something so stupid - why is it to protect what - someone changing my bootdrive or what? However - I searched google and I'm almost sure that's imposible to change the supervisor pass without spending tones of money or desoldering the EEPROM holding it, but however - Do someone here knows how to change this password on the cheap?
P.S. I can always use a floppy to load CardSoft and still start linux from the CF, but it won't be the same (and this way I won't have CD, because it's interchangeble with the floppy and there is not hot-swap so..).
Why are you blaming this on IBM? Most BIOSes made after 1993 have a password protect feature. Open it up, and see if you find a battery in it. Take out the main battery and any batteries you find in the computer. Wait overnight, then put them back in.
OK, ok , I am just a bit stressed and affected and am writing stupid things. IBM has no fault that the previous owner was a stupid idiot, but however this Thinkpad used to be my favorite laptop and now I see that it's no match even for my old Compaq Contura from which I was more stisfied . However - your battery idea won't work. It could help for the power on pass, but no for the Supervisor pass. But I even don't have to do it for the p-on, because the laptop has a special jumper for erasing it (however it won't help for the Supervisor password). I read in a forum that if I remove the HDD password and the Pow-On password the Supervisor pass will dissapear. Is this wright? I already removed the power on pass, but the HDD pass is still there. I read in the IBM's HMM that the HDD password is the same as the supervisor's one - is there a way I could read it? Sounds impossible for me.
P.S. God bless you IBM, please forgive me....
It's OK, I understand your pain. Anything is worth a try.
Google for killbios, and that might solve your problem. It worked on a couple Fujitsu laptops I had, which were bios passworded.
Thinkpads are extra special. The passwords are programmed into an eeprom when they're set. They're *not* in CMOS, nor are they in the main BIOS flash. Something like "killbios" will almost certainly *not* work.
You've probably seen this:
After dealing with a locked Thinkpad (luckily not mine, at work) once, I came to the conclusion that I would *never* buy one myself. Pity. They're really nice hardware.
Why would you ever want/need to change the BIOS settings on your laptop?
I just want to make my PCMCIA bootable - on almost every other laptop in the world it was going to be easy as a snap. I don't want to use those password recovery services, because they are very expensive - I mean that I bought the laptop for about $150 (two years ago) and I don't want to spend on it more money than it actually costs. Especially when it works fine even if it doesn't boot from PCMCIA - I can use it, but just can't change stuff in BIOS. I know that the blasted thing is more secured than russian nuclear silo. However I started wondering something - could I do this PCMCIA thing with PS2.EXE ?
I read in Internet different ways to remove the password, but they all are very risky - things like removing the password EEPROM and reading it with programmer on other computer or applying 1,5 volts to it or other crazy stuff.
P.S. The caption of this topic really should be "Why I hate Thinkpads."
Have you thought about an IDE to CF adapter?
Well, that's a neat an idea, but I don't know where to find one here in Bulgaria. I mean that people here don't need such a things often and the computer shops don't sale them (e.g. they started selling iPods only a month ago, my I didn't knew what was I missing). However I could not find one and even if I do - i won't find an 2,5 inch one (not mentioning that my Thinkpad has a proprietery HDD connector which requires a special cable.). Don't worry I'll just put up with the idea that booting with CF on it will be impossible if i don't find the previous owner and find out what's the password.
My buddy has a supervisor locked thinkpad. He ended up buying a bios chip off of ebay (90 dollars or so) and I replaced it. I had to use a magnafying glass to solder it properly but it works fine now. Not something that one would want to attempt if you aren't experienced with soldering.
A BIOS chip? I thought that Thinkpads store Supervisor password on an EEPROM chip. It's a 8-pin SMD chip. I read somewhere that if you desolder it and connect it to a serial port reader on other computer, with a special program you could read the password inside (but I think it was crypted, or the reader was storing the bin file crypted on the HDD so no one could use the program for bad purproses without the author's agreemend or something). After that you just put the chip back and unlock the thinkpad with the password you know now. But I don't want to go deep in this electronics stuff - I just was wondering is there a BIOS backdoor password like merlin for Aptivas. That's all.
This one claims to work with the Thinkpad, though the above posts make me wonder if it doesn't work with a select few of them only, or...er, none of them.
YMMV, but it's another shot:
Thanks for your sugestion - I'll try it tomorrow. Now here is 00:22 AM and I will have to wake up after only 6 hours for school so I'll try this tomorrow. I'm not very optimistic, but there must always be hope. I'll write you tomorrow what happened.
I just called it a bios chip, but thats exactly what I replaced. The ultra tiny 8 pin smd chip. You can make a reader and somehow decrypt the supervisor password, however I was never able to find the program to actually read the chip and return it back to you. The programs that I found downloaded the password but then you had to send in the key that the program generated to the company and pay like 100 dollars to have them decrypt the key. Since it was so much hassle to desolder the chip and build the reader, my friend just went with the new "bios" chip. I really didn't care, it wasn't my laptop.
There were a few thinkpads that did have passwords that were erased with battery removal but they are rather uncommon i think.
Actually my Thinkpad has a jumper for erasing the password under the CD module, but it affects only the power-on password.
i din't try it. I read the README file and it says that there is a way to remove the password with cmospwd /k, but it don't work on laptop. If I do this the irony is that with the BIOS locked I won't be able to set up the CMOS again, after erasing it. But the program could decode the pass from the EEPROM, if I desolder it and connect it to reader. The problem is that I don't won't to desolder it. Isn't that I can't, but I don't have the proper tools. With my hobyist soldering-iron I'll only damage the chip, or the motherboard. I think I'll realy have to learn to live with it. Maybe I could boot from flopy and write a batch file to compy system files from CF to RamDrive and run the from there. Than I'll feel like I have bootable PCMCIA. Maybe I could stuck Win 3.1 or Peanut/Mu linux on a CF. Anyway - my laptop will work even without the CF, beacause my HDD works fine.
Well I did it with a fairly inexpesnive 40 dollar soldering iron from radio shack. I just made sure to use it at high temp, not low temp. When soldering motherboards, its better to use high temps quickly then low temps for longer periods of time.