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Fix stock recovery of HP Spectre x360 laptop

When I got my Spectre x360 back in 2016, I booted it into the Windows 10 it came with, played a bit around and then decided to put Linux on it. So I took a backup of all partitions, repartitioned the whole SSD and went on with Linux. Of course, I found a way to install BIOS updates which I regularly did.

Now came the time to sell the machine so I restored my backup to have to original state from back then. To give the buyer a better experience, I wanted to restore it to its factory state using the now restored recovery partition. The recovery process started up just fine and prepared the main partition and started doing things ... until it failed with a strange error message. Trying it over and over again, it always failed at the same step after completely installing the Windows operating system, not very far into installing the OEM software.

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BIOS Update on the Acer Aspire One

To update the BIOS without Windows, install UNetBootIn and use it to put FreeDOS on a flash drive. Now extract the e.g. v.3305.zip to it and reboot the machine. Press F12 in the right moment and select your USB flash drive from the list. Press ENTER when you see the boot: prompt, then launch the Default configuration and select to boot FreeDOS without any drivers.

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GERICOM Webboy

  1. Turn the notebook onto its lid and remove the power plug and battery
  2. Remove the screws of the top left cover and open it. You will find the CPU-Cooler.
    The area accessible through the top-left opening on the bottom side
  3. Now remove the 4 screws of the Cooler and also the Cooler itself. The BIOS battery is now accessible through a fishplate.
    The green arrow marks the location of the connector of the CPU fan
  4. Short the battery's poles with a screwdriver at the red mark for about 2-5 seconds. After that, the BIOS settings should be deleted.
  5. Refit everything and take special care to the CPU-Cooler, since a damage to the Dye (the dark rectangular thing in the middle of the CPU) is a death sentence to the CPU. And NEVER boot the notebook without CPU-Cooling!

DELL Latitude series

These ones are something different. DELL notebooks save their BIOS password in an EEPROM-chip so it isn't deleted when you short-circuit the BIOS battery or something like that.

Also there's no jumper/DIP-switch which disables the password. Nevertheless, there are three different ways to get such things fixed:

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COMPAQ Armada

This is a short one:

  1. Remove the battery, the AC cable and the BIOS battery
  2. Wait 10 minutes
  3. Insert the AC cable into the notebook and DON'T PRESS ANYTHING
  4. After 5 seconds, the notebook should turn itself on and the password should be gone.

Baycom Worldbook II

  1. Open the lid.
  2. Remove the keyboard. Proceed as follows:
    First use a flat screwdriver to get unter the keyboard at the green line. Perhaps you have to push in the small clip (the bottom-left red circle in the left pic) to be able to pull slightly the keyboard. Now get another screwdriver and push in the small clip above the ESC-key marked with a red circle. The keyboard should snap out partially. Proceed with the remaining 3 clips in the same way.
  3. Now turn over the keyboard and locate the BIOS-battery. It is accessible through the hole marked with an arrow:
  4. Use a screwdriver to short-circuit the BIOS battery for 3-5 seconds. The battery is hidden somewhat right under the metal plate. But you can reach it without removing any other parts. Look:
  5. Get with a screwdriver between the slit marked with those arrows and short the golden contact in the front with the battery housing.
  6. Replace the keyboard. Make sure it snaps into all clips. Now, the BIOS (incl. the password) should be erased.

SONY VAIO

In the newer SONY VAIO Notebooks, the BIOS password is no longer stored in the volatile CMOS-area but on an EEPROM.

Jean Delvare has published his results of an analysis of various Sony Vaio EEPROM dumps on his homepage. There you can see that the BIOS password is stored encrypted in the first 7 Bytes of the EEPROM and, if no password is set, these Bytes are 00h. So if you delete the whole chip - like you can do with DELL notebooks - you should get rid of the password.

Unfortunately, this would delete all other informations like e.g. serial number, model name, etc., so that specific Sony-Applications might cause trouble or even don't accept the notebook as a SONY-device.

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BIOS Passwörter 🇩🇪

This page in English.

Da Notebook-Hersteller die Vergesslichkeit von Passwörtern als Problem erkannt haben, ist es oft recht einfach, ein vergessenes BIOS-Passwort zu entfernen.

ACHTUNG!
Ich übernehme keine Garantie dafür, dass diese Tricks funktionieren und ich weise hiermit darauf hin, dass man das Notebook durch Anwendung dieser Tricks unter Umständen beschädigen oder auch zerstören kann.

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Acer TravelMate 203TX 🇩🇪

  1. Öffne die Klappe.
    Hier siehst Du die "Schultern", das QuickAccess-Panel und die Tastatur:
  2. Entferne die "Schultern", indem Du sie nach aussen schiebst. Sie schützen die Display-Scharniere. Sie befinden sich über der Tastatur, links und rechts von den 4 QuickAccess-Knöpfen.
  3. Entferne das QuickAccess-Panel. (erst nach rechts schieben, dann nach oben klappen und dann heraus ziehen)
  4. Jetzt die Tastatur oben etwas anheben und ein wenig nach oben schieben. Dann in der Mitte anheben (ein Finger unter F7/F8, einer unter der Leertaste) bis die Tastatur ausrastet. Leg sie am besten kopfüber auf den Touchpad-Bereich. Jetzt sollte es so aussehen:
  5. Hier sieht man wieder die "Schultern", das QuickAccess-Panel und die Tastatur. Der rote Kreis markiert die DIP-Schalter, die wir suchen.
  6. Finde die DIP-Schalter.
  7. Schalte den 6. Schalter (von links aus; siehe Foto) auf ON (obere Stellung):
  8. Jetzt schalte das Notebook ein und drücke im richtigen Moment F2, so dass Du ins BIOS Setup gelangst.
  9. Gehe zu "System Security" und schalte das "power-on password" (oder sonstige Passwörter) aus oder geb ein neues ein.
  10. Drücke 2x ESC und SPEICHERE die BIOS-Einstellungen.
  11. When das Notebook neu startet, schalte den 6ten Schalter wieder auf OFF (untere Stellung). (Schalte das Notebook auch ruhig aus, wenn Du magst.)
  12. Bau die Tastatur wieder ein. Erst die Nasen unten in die Halterungen einsetzen, dann links und rechts drücken, bis sie einrastet. Danach, setz das QuickAccess-Panel wieder ein (Einsetzen und nach links schieben). Und zu guter Letzt, die "Schultern".