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Hack

Clearing the BIOS password on a Dell D610

Seeing as I work in technology, that obviously means I’m the first port of call for friends/relatives with any kind of computer issue.
A couple of weeks ago, one of my wifes friends asked if I could take a look at her lappy – a Dell D610.
She hadn’t used it for a few years as she got a newer lappy, now couldn’t remember her password which left her husband SOoL when he wanted to take it with him whilst he’s away with work.
As here were a bunch of photos on there of their kids when they were younger I couldn’t simply reinstall the OS and go.
Getting the pics off was pretty easy – Installing the OS was not.
I managed to get the photos off with my trusty 3.5″IDE->USB adaptor.  Took the disk out, hooked it up to my MBP and copied them off.
Well, it wasn’t quite that simple as I didn’t realise OS X wouldn’t search an NTFS drive (probably something to do with spotlight writing the index but being unable to write to NTFS natively).
After a bit of drive wrangling, I managed to get the device to show up in Windows 7 under VMWare Fusion and quickly found the pics.
Right, just the OS to go.
I burned an iso of XP with SP3 slipstreamed in and went about trying to get the lappy to boot from CD.
Once I realised that the boot menu was having no effect, I checked out the BIOS.
Yup, completely locked out with an admin password.
This meant I couldn’t change the boot priority or anything.
Bugger.
A bunch of Googling turned me on to a method of wiping the BIOS completely by shorting out the EEPROM.
It took me a while to work it out and I absolutely refused to pay the jackass with the youtube video promising to show you how to do it for a fee.
So, in the interests of freedom of information, here is how to clear/reset/remove the BIOS password on a Dell D610.
Notes and disclaimer:
This worked for me.  If it doesn’t work for you, i’m not responsible for that.
You will be cutting metal from the casing.  You need to be careful not to leave any residue on the motherboard incase it shorts anything out.
As part of the process, your machines service tag details will also be cleared.
1. Get your BIOS locked Dell D610.
2. Get a paperclip or safety pin.
3. Get a phillips or crosshead screwdriver and some metal cutters (heavy duty wire cutters should do it).
4. Remove the power supply, battery, CD drive and HDD.
5. Unscrew pretty much all of the screws on the bottom of the D610.
6. Remove the bottom case.
7. With the rear of the laptop closest to you, you should see a white label covering the modem on your left.  There should be some black plastic covering which stops the CMOS from touching the motherboard.
8. Just above that, there are some holes in the metal casing. You need to access a chip underneath that area.
9. CAREFULLY remove the metal.
10. Take your paper clip and prepare to short out the two pins 2nd from the left.
11. Power on and short those pins for about 5 secs.
12. If you are doing it right you’ll hear the fan kick in.
13. This message will show on the screen.
14. You can either press FN+x or let it reboot.
15. Now you will be able to go to the BIOS and make whatever changes you need.
It’s actually a pretty simple process once you know what chip is where, although you must be extremely careful when cutting the casing.
I hope that helps someone and saves them a few bucks.

Seeing as I work in technology, that obviously means I’m the first port of call for friends/relatives with any kind of computer issue.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my wifes friends asked if I could take a look at her lappy – a Dell D610.

She hadn’t used it for a few years as she got a newer lappy, now couldn’t remember her password which left her husband SOoL when he wanted to take it with him whilst he’s away with work.  To make things a little less straight forward, there were a bunch of photos on it of their kids when they were younger, so I couldn’t simply reinstall the OS and go.

Getting the pics off was pretty easy – Re-Installing the OS was not.

I managed to get the photos off with my trusty 3.5″IDE->USB adaptor.  Took the disk out, hooked it up to my MBP and copied them off.  Well, it wasn’t quite that simple as I didn’t realise OS X wouldn’t search an NTFS drive (probably something to do with spotlight writing the index but being unable to write to NTFS natively).  After a bit of driver wrangling, I managed to get the device to show up in Windows 7 under VMWare Fusion and quickly found the pics.

Right, just the OS to go.

I burned an iso of XP with SP3 slipstreamed in and went about trying to get the lappy to boot from CD.

Once I realised that the boot menu was having no effect, I checked out the BIOS.  Yup, completely locked out with an admin password.  This meant I couldn’t change the boot priority or anything at all.

Bugger.

A bunch of Googling turned me on to a method of wiping the BIOS admin password completely by shorting out the EEPROM.

(more…)

Reasons to Jailbreak #1

My foray into the world of jailbroken iPhones was due to one very simple app – MobileScrobbler.

It simply hooks into the iPod functionalit and submits the Artist, Track and Album information to my Last.FM profile. Having been an avid, subscribing scrobbler for nigh on three years now, I can’t bear to listen to anything that doesn’t get posted to my profile. I’m very OCD about it; no CDs in the car (my HU has a ‘Made for iPod’ interface), no radio, no net streaming (except for the last.fm client).
It’s therefore been a bit of a struggle moving away from my iPod to _just_ the iPhone. (more…)

Jailbreaking a UK iPhone

This was compiled from the conceited software write up and also iphoneatlas’ write up (I had a nervy 15 minutes of nothing whilst it was stuck in restore mode – cue much Googling!!).

I thought i’d write this up as I couldn’t find anything specific to say that the o2 iPhone could / has been broken. So here is my quick guide. The jailbreak operation took about two hours, including downloading both 1.1.1 and 1.1.2 firmwares and the aforementioned 15 minutes of shakiness – mostly due to having to Google a lot, just for my own sanity! Fixing the Edge and VVM settings was another 30 minutes.

Usual disclaimers apply, if you brick it that’s your too bad. On with the show. (more…)

Ultimate Everything

My last post mentioned that I had managed to use Noobz‘ latest downgrader and my copy of GTA:LCS to get from the OR 2.8 version of the PSP firmware back down to the Homebrew friendly 1.50.

Whilst trying to find something useful and interesting to do with my new old-skool style PSP I stumbled across the OE (Open Edition) custom versions of the OR firmware, released by a chap with the moniker Dark Alex.
I’m now running his 3.10OE-a release which enables a number of cool things i’ve found and a number of cool things I *think* it can do :D.

The actual upgrade process was simple, the hardest part was getting the right information and the right versions of the s/w. A lot of forum jumping and post trawling was involved, unfortunately most of the good information was buried amongst, people I assume are under the age of 15, writing “cud u pls hlp me make my PSP play copied games cuz i dont no how” – damn that kind of writing really is one of my biggest hates.. (Not to say that I am a Shakespearean literary genius.)

Disclaimer – If you brick your PSP it’s not my fault, just enjoying having the best paper-weight in your office.

Firstly, I couldn’t run the upgrade until my battery was fully charged – Even though it was connected to the PSU. Annoying.

*Stops*

Ok, I found the info that I was about to type up online already. This would have been helpful yesterday!!

After downgrading to 1.50, follow the guide below.
NB. I didn’t know about the motherboard limitation whereby later versions of PSP are hardcoded not to accept firmware lower than 2.0.. There is a link to a downgrader for this issue too but I did not need it.. (I have one of the earliest Jap import models :D)

http://www.gamerspress.com/index.php?title=3.10_OE-A_Install_Guide

I wonder if it’s possible to run *nix on a PSP yet….

Halfway up the down

Following this item on BBC news, I decided to go ahead and attempt this homebrew stuff.

Every since I got my PSP, i’ve always kept the firmware up to date – for no other reason than I like having the latest and greatest. I don’t know why.

So, after following the instructions HERE I’m back down from 3.x firmware to a 1.5.

Now just need to work out what to do with it!!

Removing the search box from IE7

I like my browser bars to be tidy, infact I think I have a touch of desktop OCD. For example Outlook has to be the first item on my task bar and I hate it when you have 3 or 4 instances of the same application (i.e MSN or IE) that won’t ‘group’!   So, having the Google toolbar installed means I have the search box from that app AS WELL as the default search box that IE7 has in the top right. Yuk.

I’ve been meaning to find out how to remove the search box from IE7 for a month or so now and have just gotten around to it.

HKCU\Software\Polices\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\

Create new key InfoDelivery
Create new key under InfoDelivery called Restrictions
Create new DWORD under Restrictions called NoSearchBox with value = 1

Restart IE7 and voila, no built in search box.

Will getting a Macbook help my cluttered desktop woes I wonder? (Yes, i’m still fishing for ways to convince myself I NEED one :p)

Rolling back from Outlook 12 (2007 beta release 2)

I had installed the Office 2007 beta 2 release to a server today, testing out functionality with the product I work on which requires Outlook for MAPI connectivity to MS Exchange. When the time came to rollback, I used the correct uninstall method (Add/Remove Programs) and rebooted before reapplying Outlook 2003.

Now, when opening an existing Outlook profile the app terminates when trying to access the profile settings (you get the lovely ‘do you want to restart in safe mode’ and ‘would you like to detect/repair’ loop going.
Trying to create a new Mail profile (either from the Outlook dialogue or from the Mail applet) resulted in this error:

There was an error locating one of the items needed to complete this operation. It might have been deleted.

Kind of makes sense I guess, the profiles were created in OL12 which was removed but the question is, how the hell do I get out of that loop?

Looking through the registry, the uninstall hadn’t removed the 12.0 keys from

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0

..so I got shot of them, still no dice.

The last thing I checked was Mapisvc.inf – both versions in system32 and %program files%\Common Files\MSMAPI\1033 were identical and hadn’t been modified since i’d installed OL12. Bingo. Once I deleted both of them, the next start of Outlook recreated the files and everything is swimming now.

Lets hope MS remember to clean up a little better in the RC and Gold versions 😀