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I recently bought an HP/Compaq NC4400 off of EvilBay that has a BIOS or Power On Password set and I need to figure out how to crack it so I ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Engineer TNFrank's Avatar
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    Need help cracking a "Power On Password" on a new NC4400 I picked up.


    I recently bought an HP/Compaq NC4400 off of EvilBay that has a BIOS or Power On Password set and I need to figure out how to crack it so I can install an op system on this laptop.
    All I get at start up is a blue box that says "Power On Password" with a key symbol next to it. If you enter a password that's wrong 3 times you get a[*] , no hash, no numbers to decode, nothing. I tried using a couple different USB cracking tools but even when you boot to USB it wants the Power On Password.
    I pulled the entire laptop apart today and pulled the CMOS battery and left it out for a few minutes then put everything back together but the dang password prompt is still there, didn't clear it like in most laptops.
    I did read about getting into MS-DOS and doing a "debug" to clear it but I have no clue how to bring up the MS-DOS prompt. I guess there's a certain key combination or something? Anyway, if anyone can help I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer docbop's Avatar
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    Some computer have an override switch on the motherboard, may want to see if you can find a manual for that model laptop.

  3. #3
    Linux Engineer TNFrank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop View Post
    Some computer have an override switch on the motherboard, may want to see if you can find a manual for that model laptop.
    I know most desktop models have that. I used a jumper to clear the BIOS password on my daughter's desktop computer but there's nothing like that on this laptop. May just have to pull it apart again and take out the CMOS battery again and then put it all back together again,LOL They couldn't put the stupid CMOS battery in the hard drive bay or where the RAM is, NO, they had to put it on the motherboard where you actually have to pull the motherboard to get to it. Oh well, looks like I"m in for a long night of playing "Computer Tech", LOL

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    Linux Engineer docbop's Avatar
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    That's cool and least you don't have to lay the entrails of a goat on the keyboard at midnight and twerk.
    TNFrank likes this.

  6. #6
    Linux Engineer TNFrank's Avatar
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    I got it figured out. I pulled it apart and left the CMOS battery out for about 20 miniutes this time and I didn't put the laptop battery back in before I booted the system and it started up just like it should, no stupid Power On Password. I'm getting Kali installed as I type this and getting the updates and upgrades done. Looks like it's going to be a pretty quick little laptop. CPU Blowfish was 8.55, my NC6400's with a Core Duo 1.83GHz processor rack up a 9.28 in that test to this is almore 1 better. Also, I can get Gqrx working on it unlike my little Netbook which didn't want to play nice with that SDR program. Anyway, I'm a happy camper, got a nice little 12.1" Notebook for a good price. Of course all isn't perfect, the charger I have has the small tip on it and I need a larger tip likes on my NC6400's so I'm just using one of those for now until I can trade the other one for the proper A/C adapter. Oh well, talk to ya'll later.

  7. #7
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    I was going to suggest something like that - the HP's have a pair of reset pins on the mobo that you can short out to reset the bios. That's what my grandson did with an HP my lawyer gave him. Glad your approach worked. In any case, I gave it to him (locked), and within an hour he had it unlocked and Win7 installed!
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  8. #8
    Linux Engineer TNFrank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubberman View Post
    I was going to suggest something like that - the HP's have a pair of reset pins on the mobo that you can short out to reset the bios. That's what my grandson did with an HP my lawyer gave him. Glad your approach worked. In any case, I gave it to him (locked), and within an hour he had it unlocked and Win7 installed!
    Shame on him installing Windows, LOL. Need to get him set up with a good Linux Distro.
    Yep, I think the first time I didn't leave the battery out long enough because the second time was the charm. Now if I can get some good power management installed I'll be good to go. Seems like when it's running it'll run the fan full blast for a few seconds then it'll shut off then in a couple minutes it'll run at full blast again then shut off. On the NC6400's the fan will run at about half speed for just a little bit then shut off, not crank wide open. Not sure why the NC4400 is running that way.
    I did clean a lot of lint out of the inside of the vents, looked like a dang lint trap in my dryer after drying a bunch of towels.LOL. Glad I pulled it apart and found that or I might have fried the poor little laptop.
    I'd like to get some good power management for my NC6400's as well because I'm getting that annoying, constantly running fan after wake from suspend same as the Linux Mint guys were getting. Not sure why? My Point Linux install which is Debian based worked great with suspend.
    Oh well, maybe someone will chime in with a fix in the thread I posted.

  9. #9
    Linux Engineer TNFrank's Avatar
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    Ok, found a simple way to add TLP to my Debian install.
    Better Power Management on Linux Notebooks with... Linux Magazine
    just don't forget the "sudo" before any "apt-get" commands and Bob's your Uncle.

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