Resetting CMOS and BIOS passwords on Dimension E310 (aka 3100)

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Resetting CMOS and BIOS passwords on Dimension E310 (aka 3100)

  • So the user guide gives the following instructions (after a lot of electrical grounding safety first):
     

    Locate the 3-pin password jumper (PSWD) on the system board, and attach the jumper plug to pins 2 and 3 to clear the password.

    NOTE: When you receive your computer, the jumper plug is attached to pin 1.

    Then boot it up to Windows, shut it down, and put the jumper back the way it was with similar steps as above ('cept the jumper goes back to pins 1/2) and you have a computer with factory defaulted CMOS settings to work with.  WHOOHOOO!

    But now the theory.......they whole reason I have to do this in the first place is 'cause a pre-teen was trying to keep his mom out, then forgot (so he says) the password.  Since it mentions that the system will boot to windows with the 2/3 jumper settings does this mean that it simply sets factory defaults, then boots to them?  (You probably see where I'm heading here by now).

    The only disadvantage I can think of just leaving the jumper pined out to 2/3 is that no user-customized settings can be saved.  Unless someone knows of some damage or extra wear-and-tear on any part of the MB that would actually be a good thing in this situation because the pre-teen will probably try the same thing again the next time he has a disagreement with mom.

    So anyone have any objections for defaulting CMOS on every boot to ultimately make the BIOS "read-only"?

    Message Edited by monkeyg on 04-02-2006 10:24 AM

  • If your goal is to just clear the BIOS startup password then click here for the information on how to do so from the 3100's on-line Service Manual.  The links you had in your posting were for the Dimension 8400.
     
    If you are worried about junior doing this again then simply enable the Admin Password in the BIOS to prevent any changes to it.  Click here for the on-line Service Manual and the section pertaining to the BIOS Setup program for your reference.
  • Thanks for the clarification on model number and user guide, as misinformation is far worse than a lack of information I've updated my previous post with the correct links and instructions as to not lead others astray.
     
    Yours is probably a much safer idea.  But what if the kid's smart enough to search dell for the steps to clear the BIOS and figure out how to clear my password right back?  He's already found the very best place to put a password to keep Mom out from even his desktop so I'm not sure how much doing that would slow him down.
     
    I can see him accessing system setup as soon as he gets it back, finding a password he doesn't know and then googling away just like I did to find the how-to guide.  Heck he'd probably even find this post without too much trouble! :smileyvery-happy:
     
    What I was hoping is that leaving the jumper would create a symptom that he can make full changes, do what he wants, but then "for some odd reason my changes aren't saving".  At that point most would just give up as a "It doesn't work right" write-off.
     
    I think that him figuring out that my jumper might be "mis-pinned" would be far less likely then if he knows that the password was changed and esp. when must know there's a work around for me to best his password.
     
    So again I'm back to my primary concern being damage to the computer if this is done.  Is there a risk?
     
    BTW, when did 14-year-olds become worthy opponents at anything? :smileywink:

    Message Edited by monkeyg on 04-02-2006 10:24 AM

  • "Yours is probably a much safer idea.  But what if the kid's smart enough to search dell for the steps to clear the BIOS and figure out how to clear my password right back?"
     
    Unfortunately the BIOS passwording of the desktop isn't as secure as it is on a laptop since the case can be open.  With a desktop the simple removal of the battery from the motherboard will have the same effects as playing around with the CMOS and Password jumpers.  That is of course unless you can find a way to lock the tower closed so junior can't open it.  You might check with your local computer shops to see what they suggest.
     
    "What I was hoping is that leaving the jumper would create a symptom that he can make full changes, do what he wants, but then "for some odd reason my changes aren't saving"."
     
    You can try leaving the Password clearing jumper on pins #2 and #3 and see what happens.  I don't see where it will have any ill effects on the system.  If it works then it should temporarily resolve the problem until junior figures it out.
     
    As far as the CMOS jumper that jumper will have to be placed on pins #2 and #3 for the system to work properly.  Basically what this jumper does is remove the battery power from the motherboard when the system is unplugged or turned off at the power strip and dissipates any residual charge.  With the power disconnected and the circuit to the motherboard battery disconnected the CMOS is erased which defaults the BIOS.
     
    "BTW, when did 14-year-olds become worthy opponents at anything?"
     
    Unfortunately I never had this problem with my two kids.  If junior was mine, the first time he pulled that password scheme would have been his last.  
  • Ahh, the password jumper is separate from the CMOS jumper?  Even better!  No passwords would save but meanwhile the boot order etc. would be maintained if CMOS customization was needed.

    Unfortunately I never had this problem with my two kids.  If junior was mine, the first time he pulled that password scheme would have been his last.  

    Agreed!  I'll have a similar outlook as you when mine gets old enough, but tell that to a client and :smileysurprised: who knows how they'll take it.

     
    I guess eventually there'll be a technological solution for everything, including parenting.  :smileywink:
     
    Thanks for the advice Majestic!