Gateway is still in biz and for the small fee you'll pay, you'll get an answer. From your story, that's a new one to me.
Gateway Solo 1150 with ME. It will boot with a bootable floppy disk. However, when you enter the Bios, floppy is the only drive seen. But, there is a password "set" on the HD. I set the password for the supervisor and user, then I took the thing completely apart to get to the CMOS battery. Pulled it out for about 1/2 hour. Put it all back together and still the same thing. The supervisor and user passwords were cleared but the HD password was still there. Then, I pulled the hard drive out of the notebook and put it in another Solo 1150 that was working fine. The hard drive worked in the other computer. The good hard drive from the working computer was put back into the computer with the HD password set. Problem was the same. Anyone have any suggestions?