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I salvaged an old tower from a warehouse. It actually works fine and boots up into XP. The only problem is that XP is locked with a password, and I think there is a delay after 5 attempts, so I do not think a Brute Force crack would work.

Moreover, I believe the BIOS has been edited to require a password before booting from CD (the computer appears to be a remnant of an old company, meaning the IT guys locked it down.) So, whenever I try to install Linux or an old XP recovery disk, it goes to what appears to be the BIOS registry and requires a password.

Does anyone know any way I can wipe the hard-drive without actually knowing the password? I want to use this computer for some tinkering work, considering it was free.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Reset your bios. It varies for each motherboard, but sometimes there's a jumper on your motherboard to clear the bios, sometimes just a battery. For the battery, remove it and unplug the power for half an hour. When you turn it bak on, the password should be gone

Once you do that, you should be able to either install XP from scratch, or get a password removal tool

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Just a note - you don't actually reset your BIOS - you clear the CMOS where BIOS settings are kept. – XXL Jan 7 '12 at 16:18
Good point. Still does what he's looking for though :p lol – Canadian Luke Jan 7 '12 at 16:56
Great, did exactly what I needed, I think – Berwick Jan 7 '12 at 17:56
@Berwick Remember to mark as answer then – Canadian Luke Jan 7 '12 at 17:58

Put the hard disk into another computer, install Windows/Linux from there.

When they reboot to continue the installation, put the hard disk back and continue from the original computer.

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If you also want to reset the password on the current XP installation afterwards ntpasswd will help.

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It's an offline password editor, so it needs to boot the system off of a disk. It also doesn't solve the BIOS password issue for future use/tinkering – Canadian Luke Jan 7 '12 at 18:00
@Luke: that is why I said "also" and "afterwards", as the instructions to clearing the BIOS password have been already presented. Rings a bell? – XXL Jan 7 '12 at 18:01
Sorry, didn't see that word... Edit the answer and I can remove the -1 – Canadian Luke Jan 7 '12 at 18:20

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