As many as three passwords may be needed for any ThinkPad computer: the Power-on password, the Hard drive password (master and user), and the Supervisor password.
A Supervisor password protects the system information stored in the BIOS. The user must enter the Supervisor password in order to get access to the ThinkPad BIOS Setup Utility in order to change the system configuration. If the Supervisor password is forgotten there is no way to reset it to enter the BIOS configuration. Setting a Supervisor password automatically sets the master Hard drive password. The following is the icon that comes up in the upper left corner if a Supervisor password is set:
When the Supervisor password is set, then a prompt will appear when entering the ThinkPad BIOS setup utility and the Supervisor password will need to be entered before access will be granted to view or change settings.
Note: Setting the Supervisor password does not prevent access to the operating system. If the user Hard drive password and Power-on password are not set, then setting a Supervisor password will not cause the password prompt to appear when the operating system is booted.
A forgotten Supervisor password will prevent access to the ThinkPad BIOS setup utility. To regain access, the system will need to be serviced to have the system board and hard drive replaced. Proof of purchase is required, and this repair is not covered under the warranty.
There are two Hard drive passwords: a user Hard drive password for the user and a master Hard drive password for the system administrator. The administrator can use the master password to get access to the hard drive even if a user has changed the user Hard drive password. The following is the icon that comes up in the upper left corner if a Hard disk password is set:
There are two modes for the Hard drive password: user only and master + user. The master + user mode requires two Hard drive passwords; the system administrator enters both in the same operation and provides the user Hard drive password to the system user. If either master + user or user only are set, a the password prompt will appear during the boot process either the master or the user Hard drive password will need to be entered before the operating system can be booted.
If the user's Hard drive password has been forgotten, check whether a master Hard drive password has been set. If it has, it can be used for access to the hard drive. If no master Hard drive password is available, or if the administrator forgets the master Hard drive password, then the hard drive must be replaced. This replacement process is not covered under the warranty.
A Power-on password protects the system from being powered on by an unauthorized person. The following is the icon that comes up in the upper left corner if a Power-on password is set:
When the Power-on password has been set, a prompt will appear during the system start up, and the Power-on password must be entered before an operating system can be booted.
If the Power-on password is forgotten and the Supervisor password is known, simply go into the ThinkPad BIOS setup utility and reset the Power-on password, otherwise try the following:
Contact a local Service Provider to carry your machine in for service.
- Turn off the computer.
- Remove the battery pack.
- Remove the backup battery.
- Turn on the computer and wait until the POST ends. After the POST ends, the password prompt does not appear. The POP has been removed.
- Reinstall the backup battery and the battery pack.
Note: Some ThinkPad systems have the ability to reset the Power-on passwords in the ThinkPad BIOS setup utility if a Supervisor password has been set.