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This looks like a BIOS password, which is going to be difficult to get past. The big question is: how did that happen?
I have a Del Inspiron 600M. When I turn it on, it goes to, "This computer is protected by [some sort of serial number] password authentication system. Please type in the primary or administrator password."
Well, I was always able to get in before, but now it will not accept my administrator password. Can you tell me why or can I override this so I can use my laptop again?
In this excerpt from Answercast #8, I talk about how a BIOS password is set, how difficult it will be to recover, and speculate about causes.
I have a theory, but the theory is probably not something you're gonna like. That message ("password authentication system") preceded by that serial number implies to me that what you're looking at is a BIOS password. A BIOS password actually kicks in before Windows is even loaded.
So your Windows administrator password would have nothing to do whatsoever with this.
Now, the reason you won't like this is because this is something you would have had to have added yourself - or somebody else would have to had to have add - to the BIOS before Windows even boots.
Since you didn't set it (assuming you would know if you did), then I can only assume that somebody else did. So I would start by seeing if there's somebody who has had access to your computer who might want to do something like that.
The problem is that a BIOS password is actually fairly secure, depending upon the computer manufacturer. I honestly don't know of a reliable way to get around it other than to actually provide the password.
You might get in touch with Dell and see if they have an alternative for you. But at this point, I can't think of a way in; if indeed this is a BIOS password.
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