Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bios Ex Machina

So, I was fixing up my new laptop. Since it was just a burnt out harddrive, I figured it would be an easy enough fix.

I mean, I've got boxes of various computer parts all over my house. As someone who expects shit to break on a regular basis, I just keep everything so I'll always have a spare.

Don't tell Susan, but I've got a spare wife hidden in the attic.

You know... Just in case.

It only took me a few minutes to find a spare laptop drive, so it looked like it was going to be a quick switch out and I'm done.

Do you know what's funny? I'm always wrong when I think that.

It's not "Haha" funny.

It's more like "I'm going to stab someone in the neck" funny.

A lot of stuff is funny like that.

I cracked the laptop open (not literally) and had the drive switched out in a manner of minutes.

That was easy.

I turned the thing on and waited for it to boot.

Instinctively, I closed my eyes and waited for the sound of metal scraping metal as this drive died too.


Harddrive worked just fine.

Hey... Maybe this wasn't going to be so bad.

Pop in a Windows disk and set it to install.

Install goes fine.

I know. I was as surprised as you are.

Given my track record, I was fully expecting the laptop to explode and lodge a RAM chip in my brain or something.

I wasn't even bleeding yet.

Reboot again and the laptop opens on a fresh and clean desktop.


Honestly, the whole thing went as smooth as silk. I can't even believe how easy that...


Why isn't the touchpad working?

Oh, oh. Maybe it was a driver thing. I better check in the device manager and see if the driver needs updating.


There was no touchpad listed.

My new laptop was trying to tell me that it doesn't have a touchpad.

I found this very strange as I could actually see the touchpad.

At this point, I decided my laptop is a damned liar.

I then tried to reason with the laptop.

[GM]Dave>> It's right there.

No luck. Apparently, laptops are impervious to logic.

It must be a woman.

That was a joke. Stop writing hate mail.

So, now I had a laptop with no touchpad.

Actually, I had a laptop that said it had no touchpad.

I was a little unsure of how to handle the situation. My usual tactic of feeding whatever is aggravating me to the nearest dragon did not seem to apply.

Though, that might make a nice plan B.

Falling back on my years of computer experience, I decided it was probably a bios problem.

In case you didn't get that from the title.

I immediately rebooted it and hit the key to get into the bios.

Strangely, it didn't take me to a bios menu.

Instead, this weird message popped up.

Something about a bios password.


Honestly, I was starting to wonder if the damned thing was just screwing with me.

In my haste to rescue this poor, poor laptop from the brink of destruction, I had failed to ask if he had put in a bios password.

I decided to see if it was something obvious.


Nope. Not password.




Nope. Though that's the combination on my luggage.

Do you know what's really funny? Manufacturers who give you three chances and then boot you out of the menu anyway.

Ha freakin' ha.

Hours later, I still had not found the password and was honestly considering just jamming a butterknife under the CMOS battery.

I'm not sure if I was hoping to reset the password or possibly electrocute myself.

At that point, it really was a toss up.

This is when Susan suggested we just use a USB mouse.

I suggested that we might as well live in a cave and cook our food over an open fire.

Susan suggested I sleep on the couch.

This morning, tired and broken, I stumbled into work.

I didn't even bother heading toward my desk for my morning drink. I went straight to the guy's section and waited for him to show up.

There are few things worse than finding a tired, angry [GM]Dave waiting for you when you get to work.

A tired, angry, SOBER [GM]Dave is one of them.

[GM]Dave>> Bios...
[GM]Dave>> Password...
[GM]Dave>> Now.
Guy>> Shit, man.
Guy>> You look like hell.
[GM]Dave>> Bios...
[GM]Dave>> Password...
[GM]Dave>> Now.
Guy>> Oh... Password...
Guy>> Uhh...
[GM]Dave>> Bios...
Guy>> I get it, I get it.
Guy>> What was that password again?

Apparently, the look in my eye must have frightened him because his mind instantly kicked into high gear.

Guy>> Oh, the bios password...
Guy>> Puppy.
[GM]Dave>> I'm sorry.
[GM]Dave>> What?
Guy>> Well, when I got the laptop...
Guy>> My girlfriend and I had just got this new puppy.
[GM]Dave>> Your password...
[GM]Dave>> Was puppy?
Guy>> Yeah.
Guy>> Man, I miss that dog.
Guy>> He used to do the cutest thin...

I didn't quite catch the next few words.

Probably had something to do with my hands being around his throat.



At 4:56 PM, Blogger Eli said...

It would have been funnier if he was gay and his password was "pussy", which is a true story. :D

At 5:12 PM, Blogger quinn said...

you are well within your rights to kill him

At 8:11 PM, Blogger Rakuen said...

Did you just throw down a Spaceballs reference?

At 8:16 PM, Blogger RurouniZanza said...

Can't [GM]s feed other [GM]s to dragons?

And title reminded me of Smashing Pumpkins. Still prefer the melancoly album

At 9:14 PM, Blogger Church said...

Jamming a butterknife under the CMOS battery won't work, just, ya know, info for the future. Laptop CMOS passwords are stored on non-volatile memory so that you can pull the battery (all of the batteries) and they remain. It's (according to manufacturers) for "security", also so they can charge you $60 / hr to give you the back door or break the hash.

Interesting story (as if any of you care), I run a small IT company, and subcontract for a larger IT/tel-com company. I had a client with a dell laptop who needed a wipe/clean install. This dell laptop had a bios password, which I was given. Seeing as how I didn't want to type the password in during the multiple reboots a wipe / reinstall required (I'm lazy sometimes) I went into bios and blanked out the password, assuming it would clear it.

On a dell laptop, blanking the password does not, in fact, clear the password. It makes it so that you cannot enter the bios menu without a password, which no longer exists. This was a wonderful surprise to me.

Dell informs me it's $60 / hr to talk to tier II tech support to clear it.

I now (no thanks to dell, and at no charge) have a small, useful program that you input the hash code after 3 failed bios login attempts, and it spits out the bios password.

At 1:57 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:58 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

I tried to use "penis" as my password but it said password too short.

At 2:09 AM, Blogger Glen said...

Nice Spaceballs reference, 12345 love that film

At 2:13 AM, Blogger Husband said...

Funny story, you've even inspired me to start my own blog

keep up the good work mate

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Pawkeshup said...

Dave, the BIOS won't help you. You need the laptop touchpad driver to detect the touchpad.

Also, Church, the way to get a BIOS password reset from Dell is hella annoying. An L2 has to use a program to generate a password you can use to reset the BIOS password.

At 8:38 AM, Blogger Bufuman said...

You have something against puppies, Dave?
*drowns Dave in puppies to annoy him*

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Church said...

I know pawkeshup, which is why I now have a copy of said program.

It's damn handy.

At 5:52 AM, Blogger Fireball said...

At least it was a free laptop ! YAYYYY! *runs*

At 6:24 AM, Blogger RamblingDreamer said...

eli: At least nobody would guess what it was. Damn clever, really. ;)


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