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Step-by-Step Instructions to Reset a Dell Laptop Password

by Quinn Marshall
motherboard image by pershing from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

A Dell laptop can be equipped with a BIOS password, which is a password that's part of the laptop itself, not the operating system installed on the laptop's hard drive. This password adds an extra degree of protection against hackers and thieves and prevents a thief from digitally accessing the data on the hard drive. Because a BIOS password is part of the Dell laptop and not the operating system, it is difficult but possible to reset with the right tools and basic technical knowledge.

With a PSWD Reset Jumper

Step 1

Open the access panel to the password reset jumper if your Dell laptop has one. Consult your manual for the access panel's location. Some access panels have a tab you slide, while others are held in place with a screw.

Step 2

Pry the plastic cover off the reset jumper with your fingernail. The reset jumper is a small pin port labeled "PSWD" with three pins. Put the plastic back onto the jumper over pin 1 and 2 instead of 2 and 3. Wait 90 seconds.

Pry the plastic off the reset jumper again and place it back onto the number 2 and 3 pins. Turn the laptop on. Repeat step 2 if the password is still present. Leave the plastic clip on pins 1 and 2 for a longer duration than last time.

Without a PSWD Reset Jumper

Step 1

Locate the reserve battery, also known as the CMOS battery, if your Dell laptop is not equipped with a password reset jumper. The CMOS battery's location varies among Dell laptop models. Consult your manual for the battery's location on your specific Dell laptop model. Many Dell reserve batteries are located underneath the main laptop battery. Remove the main battery and look for a sticker under it with instructions on removing the secondary CMOS battery.

Step 2

Remove your Dell's reserve battery per the instruction manual or sticker located under the main battery. Removing the reserve battery resets the laptop's BIOS password. Wait 90 seconds, then replace the reserve battery. Reconnect the main battery.

Press the "Power" button to turn the laptop on.

Items you will need

  • Phillips screwdriver

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