That was a long evening fixing a Thinkpad X121e ...BIOS supervisor password  (Read 392 times)

Piglet

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So...upgrading an old but critical family laptop today. Cloned and swapped out the hard drive for an SSD. Swapped out for some faster and larger SODIMMs. All looking good.

OK - last thing. Check for BIOS updates. Booted to BIOS and it wanted a password.

Hmmm...looks for a solution..."take out the CMOS battery and let the BIOS reset". OK. Done.

Reads another site ...** whatever you do don't remove CMOS battery! **. Argh! Puts it back....fires up latop. No boot. BIOS errors. Windows tries and fails to load. Dead Laptop. Still wants password.

Eventually finds this article: https://davidzou.com/articles/bios-password-bypass
Finds this disassembly video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_WbQFvlCDs

Searches internet to find location of EEPROM chip for this model. Fails.

Dismantles the entire laptop down to mobo and uses a USB microscope to try and find a L08 EEPROM chip. Looks at every likely candicate on the board.

Finds it. Re-assembles far enough to be able to start it up. Shorts data SDA and clock SCL at right moment on powerup with the point of a pair of tweezers....and gets in to BIOS....and resets password & loads defaults!

In the unlikely event of anyone else with one of these Thinkpad X121e laptops hits this problem - this is where the L08 security EEPROM is...and the pins I shorted.


« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 00:30 by Piglet »

NOPE

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*Acting like I know what I'm looking at...................................

"That's totally a bad sphyncter linkage you caught there"

NOPE

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"It could also be a bad canooter valve"

zeus

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I AM MORE IMPRESSED BY THE LACK OF ANY DUST INSIDE THE LAPTOP :O

Piglet

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There was a little in the hinge area and on the fan. While I was there I used a small paint-brush to free it and blew it out.

In all the years I've been messing about with computers that's the closest I've come to bricking one.

It's interesting that the service manual for Thinkpads says that if a customer comes in with a supervisor password lock then the only action allowed is to replace the motherboard entirely.

hellfire

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amazing work :) Make a blog post maybe which can be found out by the greater public outside the community maybe ;) Am happy to see fellow geeks still wakes up to this (will show my gf) ;) 

I recently purchased 2 old desktops for 10 bucks and used the parts to upgrade my linux machine (ram+ hdd) and the rest I used to make interesting projects (PID controller which needed heatsink etc etcc ) to as mundane as a fan for this 36c melting summer lol (Old DELL machines are gold for quality parts and copper heatsinks are a jackpot if you find). I took out the AMD chip and keep it as a shiny reminder of what technology is lol..enough of geek talk over coffee. Enjoy :)

hagis

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I never update bios unless I can't avoid it,. if it ain't broke mantra :)

I did get roped in to 'help fix' someones computer the other day,. they had problems downloading files from a device across USB on win10,. foolishly I suggested uninstalling some of the USB drivers in device manager,. after that none of the USB ports work and they didn't have a non-USB keyboard or mouse,. opps now I'm on the hook

luckily after some head scratching realised the USB keyboard did work enough to get into the bios,. after that win10 did recognise the keyboard and other USB,. and no it didn't fix the initial problem but at least it wasn't any worse :)

Blub

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Not bad, piggy. Has been quite some time since I have played around with my old TPs but I really liked all the details in the HMM.  :D