Reset or Clear Thinkpad BIOS Passwords – How To

Lenovo Thinkpads have three options for securing the system with passwords.  In the system BIOS are selections for setting a:

-Power-On password
-Hard-Disk password
-Supervisor password.

I’ll explain these options and walk through how to initially set them up, remove the passwords, and finally, how to clear a BIOS password.

To start, when you first get a new Thinkpad it’s a good idea to secure it against unauthorized use. The following steps explain how to setup passwords through the system BIOS.  After these passwords have been set, the system will prompt for them on boot.

To Set Power-On Password

1) Boot the machine and press F1 to enter the BIOS.
2) Select Security option
3) Select Password option
4) Select Power-On Password option
5) Enter your new password twice in the fields that say Enter New Password
6) Hit enter twice to save this password.

To Set Hard-Drive Password

1) Boot the machine and press F1 to enter the BIOS
2) Select Security option
3) Select Password option
4) Select Hard Drive Password option
5) Select User password*
6) Enter your new password twice in the fields that say Enter New Password
7) Hit enter twice to save this password.

*You have the option of selecting a user+master password that offers another layer of protection by having you enter a ‘master’ password which can be used to erase or override a ‘user’ password.

To Set Supervisor Password

1) Boot the machine and press F1 to enter the BIOS
2) Select Security option
3) Select Password option
4) Select Supervisor Password option
5) Enter your new password twice in the fields that say Enter New Password
6) Hit enter twice to save this password.

A note on these passwords:
A Power-On password secures the system and will prompt for the password on system boot.  If the Power-On password is forgotten, it can be erased or cleared fairly easily as described below.  It’s important to consider the level of protection needed.  A Supervisor password cannot be cleared or reset, which offers the highest protection, but if you forget this password the system cannot be accessed and will need to be replaced.  Same goes for the Hard Drive password, you cannot clear or reset this password if forgotten unless a ‘master’ hard drive password has been set.

Removing the passwords is identical to the above steps but instead of entering a new password, you would enter the Current Password and then press enter twice in the field that says Enter New Password.  This will blank out or clear the password.

How To Clear The Power-On Password With The CMOS Battery

1) Make sure system is turned off and remove the external battery
2) Remove the palm rest
3) Remove the CMOS battery, it will be wrapped in yellow and plugged into the motherboard
4) Wait a few seconds and turn on the system.  The Power-On password should now be gone.
5) Turn the system back off and replace the CMOS battery, palm rest and external battery.

As stated earlier, this only works for a Power-On password.  A Supervisor password cannot be removed.