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Locked out of Thinkpad T61 after BIOS update

by robertleipner / April 16, 2008 2:31 AM PDT

Hey folks,
I got my T61 last week and been very happy so far. I installed Windows yesterday and did all the updates and driver installation with the automated Matrix program (not sure what it's called). One of the updates was a BIOS update.
I tried to access my BIOS afterwards and it asked me for a password (it has never done that before the update). I never set one, so I just tried to hit enter and to double check also my usual computer password (I set that for Windows but not for BIOS, I just wanted to double check). Now I can't access my computer nor my BIOS anymore.
Any idea what I can do? I am sure I never entered a password and so I am pretty frustrated.

Thank you.

Robert

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IBM say's there is no way to reset it, but for 799.00 they
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 16, 2008 2:56 AM PDT
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Could I have avoided this?
by robertleipner / April 16, 2008 3:34 AM PDT

Thank you for the info. That is ridiculous. I don't think I have done anything wrong nor have seen any warning on the screen. Or am I wrong? (Please tell me before I call them) I'll call customer service tonight and see how that goes.

Robert

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Sorry.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 16, 2008 6:09 AM PDT

But as presented its time to make that call.

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they did it.
by Renegade Knight / September 19, 2008 5:09 AM PDT

Apparently the BIOS update has a bug and they don't want to own up to it. Lenovo customer service doesn't seem to be on a par with IBM.

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T61 lockout
by trberube / April 17, 2008 12:42 AM PDT

The same thing happened to me yesterday. Lenovo/IBM tech support couldn't work around the problem, but offered to allow me to send in my system for a free password reset (usually costs $75.)

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Did you forget your password or got locked out after update?
by robertleipner / April 17, 2008 12:49 AM PDT
In reply to: T61 lockout

Did you forget your password or got locked out after update?

Did they say how long it's gonna take and could you also just take ti to a authorized dealer?
Any way we could have avoided this?

Cheers,
Robert

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T61
by trberube / April 17, 2008 1:16 AM PDT

I never had a password (until now).

Local service reps apparently can't handle this.

They indicated that I would be without the PC for a few days.

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T61
by robertleipner / April 17, 2008 1:45 AM PDT
In reply to: T61

At least better than paying $799. I still don't get why I would have to pay anything for a problem I did not cause. But I guess life just isn't fair sometimes.

Thanks for all the info.

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same here...
by der_walter / April 17, 2008 4:36 AM PDT
In reply to: T61 lockout

had the same problem today, after the bios update i suddenly have a password. the support still claims that all bios updates void the warranty (which isn't according to german law) and i'd have to buy a new mainboard. so good to hear that you got a free reset.

btw, did they say anything about the hdd? because you can also password protect the hdd via bios, so i wonder if that bios update went for the whole package and we have to fear for our data now as well Sad

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I talked to customer service
by robertleipner / April 17, 2008 4:42 AM PDT
In reply to: same here...

Hey guys,

I talked to customer service. They said a lot of people had that problem lately so maybe there is something wrong with the update we all did. They are going to investigate it some more and then call me back. looks like they have to replace the motherboard cause with the new Thinkpads you apparently can't take the motherboard batterie out for a reset or hock them up to a cable at a service representative anymore.
So far they haven't told me that it's gonna cost anything and I hope it's gonna stay that way.

Robert

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some infos
by der_walter / April 17, 2008 5:18 AM PDT

being on the verge of desperation, i already spent some hours reading up on this, it seems they have an additional amtel chip on the mainboard which stores the password. with a soldering iron and diodes and resistors for a few cents you can get direct serial access to that chip, dump it's contents with a freeware app and read the password. i guess the story of having to replace the whole mainboard is just kept up as it demonstrates security, while they could fix the boards within seconds if they wanted Wink

but i assume that they have found the password they have set with this bios version by now but don't want to hand it out to people, so you'll sent in the laptop and they'll just type it in for you. it still sounds like an acceptable solution though.

to get a similar treatment for my laptop i'd appreciate it if you or someone who was offered a free reset already could give me the ticket number / case id or whatever lenovo uses to track your problem. it'll probably be a shortcut to a free reset if i can just refer them to your case. so thanks in advance Happy

oh, and did they say anything to you about a possible hdd lock?

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BIOS
by trberube / April 17, 2008 6:52 AM PDT
In reply to: some infos

I saw that site, but wasn't sure my hand is steady enough to solder on the tiny pins of that chip.

No word on the HDD password.

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lenovo T61
by phonebox / November 6, 2008 8:16 PM PST
In reply to: some infos

hello there,

i bought lenovo t61 of some guy but came to face password problem when i turn the book on, it ask for password which i dont know n have no idea how to fix it. i ll appriciate if anyone can guide me abt that (if i put new hard drive in it, ll it help???)


i just registered wityh this site n its my first time so hope u ppl dont mind if the problem already presented.

thanxxx

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Thanks for adding to the posts.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 6, 2008 9:19 PM PST
In reply to: lenovo T61

But are you asking for a fix or resolution? It wasn't clear. But to be clear, read how it was resolved in the other replies.

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T61
by trberube / April 17, 2008 6:51 AM PDT

I called the support line again today to set up sending in my system, and had a little harder time convincing them that the problem was their fault and not mine. They left me with, "Send it in to the Depot. They will investigate the problem and will determine whether or not you will be billed."

The guy yesterday indicated a password reset was $75. If that's true, I'm thinking they probably use a backdoor password to get in and clear the passwords. Any real work on the system should cost more than that.

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Got my T61 today
by robertleipner / May 2, 2008 7:48 AM PDT
In reply to: T61

After Lenovo had closed my first case without ever calling me back as promissed I called them again last week and opened a new case. I sent the notebook on Monday and got it back Thursday. Problem resolved, no charges.

Nice.

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Seems strange
by Renegade Knight / September 19, 2008 5:07 AM PDT
In reply to: same here...

How is it that the OEM can void their own warrantee for what the OEM has pushed as a needed update? Sounds like a typical run-around so they don't have to solve the problem at their expence.

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Power-on password and Reset by removed the backup battery
by Levono / April 19, 2008 1:23 AM PDT

Please go th IBM (see the link)and check it is a Bios password, or a power-on password. IF it is only the power-on password, you can remove it by yourself.

http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?sitestyle=lenovo&lndocid=MIGR-59377

If the Power-on password is forgotten and the Supervisor password is known, simply go into the ThinkPad BIOS setup utility and reset the Power-on password, otherwise try the following:
1.Turn off the computer.
2.Remove the battery pack.
3.Remove the backup battery.
4.Turn on the computer and wait until the POST ends. After the POST ends, the password prompt does not appear. The POP has been removed.
5.Reinstall the backup battery and the battery pack.
Note: Some ThinkPad systems have the ability to reset the Power-on passwords in the ThinkPad BIOS setup utility if a Supervisor password has been set.


Types of passwords
As many as three passwords may be needed for any ThinkPad computer: the Power-on password, the Hard drive password (master and user), and the Supervisor password.

Supervisor password (BIOS password)

A Supervisor password protects the system information stored in the BIOS. The user must enter the Supervisor password in order to get access to the ThinkPad BIOS Setup Utility in order to change the system configuration. If the Supervisor password is forgotten there is no way to reset it to enter the BIOS configuration. Setting a Supervisor password automatically sets the master Hard drive password. The following is the icon that comes up in the upper left corner if a Supervisor password is set:


Normal operation
When the Supervisor password is set, then a prompt will appear when entering the ThinkPad BIOS setup utility and the Supervisor password will need to be entered before access will be granted to view or change settings.
Note: Setting the Supervisor password does not prevent access to the operating system. If the user Hard drive password and Power-on password are not set, then setting a Supervisor password will not cause the password prompt to appear when the operating system is booted.


Forgotten Supervisor password
A forgotten Supervisor password will prevent access to the ThinkPad BIOS setup utility. To regain access, the system will need to be serviced to have the system board and hard drive replaced. Proof of purchase is required, and this repair is not covered under the warranty.


Hard drive password
There are two Hard drive passwords: a user Hard drive password for the user and a master Hard drive password for the system administrator. The administrator can use the master password to get access to the hard drive even if a user has changed the user Hard drive password. The following is the icon that comes up in the upper left corner if a Hard disk password is set:


Normal Operation
There are two modes for the Hard drive password: user only and master + user. The master + user mode requires two Hard drive passwords; the system administrator enters both in the same operation and provides the user Hard drive password to the system user. If either master + user or user only are set, a the password prompt will appear during the boot process either the master or the user Hard drive password will need to be entered before the operating system can be booted.

Forgotten Hard drive password
If the user's Hard drive password has been forgotten, check whether a master Hard drive password has been set. If it has, it can be used for access to the hard drive. If no master Hard drive password is available, or if the administrator forgets the master Hard drive password, then the hard drive must be replaced. This replacement process is not covered under the warranty.

Power-on password
A Power-on password protects the system from being powered on by an unauthorized person. The following is the icon that comes up in the upper left corner if a Power-on password is set:


Normal Operation
When the Power-on password has been set, a prompt will appear during the system start up, and the Power-on password must be entered before an operating system can be booted.

Forgotten Power-on password
If the Power-on password is forgotten and the Supervisor password is known, simply go into the ThinkPad BIOS setup utility and reset the Power-on password, otherwise try the following:
Turn off the computer.
Remove the battery pack.
Remove the backup battery.
Turn on the computer and wait until the POST ends. After the POST ends, the password prompt does not appear. The POP has been removed.
Reinstall the backup battery and the battery pack.
Note: Some ThinkPad systems have the ability to reset the Power-on passwords in the ThinkPad BIOS setup utility if a Supervisor password has been set.

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Re: Power-on password and Reset by removed the backup batter
by robertleipner / April 19, 2008 2:29 AM PDT

How could I tell which of the three passwords it is? The symbol is the same. I get mine right after I turn the machine on.
I took my regular batterie out but couldn't see the backup batterie.
I think in the end I need to send it in anyways cause I still can't access my BIOS and that can't be reseted in the described way.

Robert

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There are 3 different simples for different level password
by Levono / April 19, 2008 3:00 AM PDT

Just go to this link,

There are 3 different simples
for different passwords

http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?sitestyle=lenovo&lndocid=MIGR-59377

the backup battery is the motherboard's battery, You need to open the keyboard and you will see it, it is very easy to do this. I just spent 10 minus to fix this error.

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same with your T61?
by der_walter / April 19, 2008 3:08 AM PDT

> I just spent 10 minus to fix this error.

so you had the same problem after the bios update and the backup battery thing solved it?

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worth a try
by der_walter / April 19, 2008 3:06 AM PDT

the icon left of the lock is different for the three, check out the url

http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?sitestyle=lenovo&lndocid=migr-59377

I don't have my T61 with me right now so i'm not sure which icon i got, but if you want to try it here's a video how you get to the backup battery:

http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/MIGR-63894.html

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Re: worth a try
by robertleipner / April 19, 2008 4:21 AM PDT
In reply to: worth a try

Thanks, I didn't notice the difference in the symbols. So it's asking me for the power-on password.
What I'm asking myself is if taking the keyboard out and removing the batterie is going to void the warranty. Usually manufactures can be kind of picky when it comes to opening notebooks.
I'll wait what Lenovo tells me before I start taking things apart. When I called them again yesterday they told me this issue (ppl being locked out after update) is a huge issue right now.

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warranty
by der_walter / April 19, 2008 4:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: worth a try

one of the manuals that came with the T61 describes those steps to remove the keyboard as well, so i don't think you'll void the warranty if you follow them. also the video is freely available for customers. if they didn't want people to try that they shouldn't encourage them with a video Happy

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it worked!
by markdes / May 2, 2008 6:59 AM PDT
In reply to: warranty

I followed the video instructions to remove the backup battery and it worked....thanks.

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reply

Hi
this thing really works
lenovo should accept that thier bios is corrup

thnakx alot

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Did not work for my thinkpad t61
by cartman24 / September 19, 2008 1:52 AM PDT

Hi,
i have the same, problem,but i have a power on password, and i forgot it. I removed the backup, battery and it didnt work for me.
I cannot use my laptop, and i am out of warrianty.
Can anybode help me?

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Staples and other stores for years...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 19, 2008 2:02 AM PDT

Offered BIOS PASSWORD RESET as a service for 50 to 75 bucks. Cheap compared to losing the laptop entirely. Or is paying for repair not an option?

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thinkpad t61
by cartman24 / September 19, 2008 2:16 AM PDT

Thanks for your quick answer
unfortunetly, have not any money for it.
I dont know why dont work for me removing the backup battery. If i want to enter the bios, it asked the power on password, so i cannot delete it.
I heard something about reading the bios password from eeprom, but it too hard for me, and it is also very expensive for me.
Is there any way to solve this problem?

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