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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting the Motherboard and System Devices | CMOS Memory or Real-Time Clock ]

I have lost my BIOS password so I cannot start the system and/or get into the BIOS setup program

Explanation: You entered a password into the BIOS setup program to control access to the system, and then forgot the password. If this a setup password, you will be unable to enter the BIOS setup program. If this is a startup or boot password, you will be unable to boot the system at all.

Diagnosis: For most people, using the BIOS passwords isn't a great idea, and this is the main reason why. If you do use a password, you should always record it in writing somewhere in case you need it later on. It can be hard to get around this sort of a problem, precisely because if there were an easy way to get around the password, it would have no value. In most cases you will have to clear the CMOS memory to erase the password.


  • If you haven't already, and if you can live without the machine for a day or so, wait and try to remember the password. This is the best solution, if you can remember it. :^)
  • If your system has an AMI BIOS, try the default password, which is either "AMI" or "ami". This will not usually work, but is worth a try.
  • If you cannot get into the BIOS program, your only remaining option is to try to clear the CMOS memory that holds BIOS settings. Included in this memory is the password, so this will let you get back into the PC. See here for instructions on erasing the CMOS memory.
  • If it is a setup password that you are trying to get around, then you can at least boot the PC. It is possible in some systems that performing a flash BIOS upgrade will clear the CMOS memory and eliminate the password. I would not recommend trying this without getting confirmation from your motherboard vendor first, as doing flash BIOS upgrades in strange situations can theoretically be dangerous.

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