Nearly every laptop on the market today is running Insyde’s H20 BIOS utility. If you own an Acer, Dell, Toshiba or HP Laptop, chances are it is on yours as well. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Insyde’s platform. In fact it is one of the best that I have seen yet. But it wasn’t developed with the end user in mind. This thing is a techie’s playground.
When I first got my laptop back in April, I just had to play around in it to familiarize myself with the system and of course, I had to start by investigating the BIOS utility. I set both power on and administrator passwords, tested them for integrity and was pleased with the results. Then I couldn’t figure out how to deactivate the freaking passwords. My wife and I are the only ones that use the computer so there really is no need for a BIOS password to be running on the system. Entering a string of characters every time we want to get onto the computer is extremely annoying. So I set out to try to find a way to deactivate the thing before we pulled all of our hair completely out.
H20 does not provide any options for disabling passwords within its structure. I Googled and searched computer forums and IT blogs, but I still couldn’t find the answers that I was looking for. Shock, faint and fall dead. Apparently there are very few people out there that set the BIOS passwords on their computers and even fewer that need to know how to deactivate them. What a horrifying thought to know that so few people understand so little about computer security. No wonder the number of identity theft victims is on the rise. Maybe I should write an article on the subject.
Anyway, I finally decided to just figure it out on my own. You know, get in there and get my hands dirty so to speak, rekindle the old techie spirit and get the job done. So I rebooted the computer, F10’ed my way into the BIOS configuration utility and directed myself over to the security section of the setup screen. There are two options there: set administrator password and set power on password. I typed in the current passwords and pressed enter three times, bypassing the option to set any new passwords for the system. Bingo! The status fields on the right hand side declared the message “clear” and the passwords were gone. It was that simple. After months of searching for the answers on the internet, all I really had to do was to push buttons until I got it right.
So what is the moral of this story? There are two: Techies are trial and error button pushers and BIOS firmware manufactures are biased software developers, or something like that.