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govtdog
1 Copper

Dumpster Diving: Found old Dell Laptop - Need help with Dell code to erase/reset admin password

Hello,

I am a property manager who manages some self-storage facilities. We recently had a few spaces go to auction and as a result the auction winners threw stuff they didn't want into the dumpster. I was emptying the trash from the office and noticed that someone had thrown a few laptops into the dumpster. As a tech nerd, I climbed into the dumpster and pulled the laptops from the garbage.

One of the laptops was a Dell laptop. I cleaned it up a bit and used one of my Dell laptop chargers to try and charge the battery overnight. Then, I hit the power button and hoped..... nada. Opened the back panel and immediately saw that it had no hard drive.... but the memory was still installed as well as the WIFI adapter. The screen was cracked but I had hope that it might still be usable once I could actually get the laptop to boot.

So, I pulled out one of my old SATA laptop hard drives, re-formatted it and installed it in the laptop.

Hit the power button and saw that I could not install Win10 from the USB port since the laptop had an admin password installed and of course, I had no idea what it was. So, I called Dell and gave them all the laptop info and my personal info and they gave me a code to enter which was supposed to disable or erase the unknown admin password and allow me to change the boot options to include the usb port.

The code does not work. The dell rep mentioned something about hitting the Shift and Control keys while I hit the enter key but that still doesn't make the code work.

I have all the laptop info and the code given to me by Dell and can post that info if it will help solve this issue.

Any ideas?

Thanks,

John

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12 Replies
8 Xenon

RE: Dumpster Diving: Found old Dell Laptop - Need help with Dell code to erase/reset admin password

Unless you can track down the registered owner, you'll need to replace the mainboard.  

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govtdog
1 Copper

RE: Dumpster Diving: Found old Dell Laptop - Need help with Dell code to erase/reset admin password

During my call to Dell the agent took my personal information and said ownership was transferred to me. Then he gave me the secret code to disable the admin PW... but that code doesn't seem to work.

Is there some sort of special key combination along with the code I need to use to have this code work?

Otherwise, I'll strip the laptop for usable parts and toss it back into the dumpster from whence it came.

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govtdog
1 Copper

RE: Dumpster Diving: Found old Dell Laptop - Need help with Dell code to erase/reset admin password

Don't know if this will help or not, but here is all the info I have on this laptop.

Service Code: <ADMIN NOTE: Service tag removed per privacy policy>

Ser #: A3551AB740C6B044

This is the code given to me by Dell to reset the admin password.

CA9DAB39

As I mentioned, it doesn't work though....?

Any ideas besides tossing it back into the dumpster?

Thanks,

John

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govtdog
1 Copper

RE: Dumpster Diving: Found old Dell Laptop - Need help with Dell code to erase/reset admin password

Incredible.... a Dell admin took the time to remove the service tag for the laptop but didn't bother to help with my question???

Either the admin is not very knowledgeable, too lazy to help or was headed out the door like me to get some Thanksgiving turkey? 🙂

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8 Xenon

RE: Dumpster Diving: Found old Dell Laptop - Need help with Dell code to erase/reset admin password

The forum software has a script that removes service tags - since that number can be tied to personal information, posting it is not allowed.

Verify that the service tag you supplied Dell to obtain the password matches the one in system setup (NOT necessarily the one attached to the bottom of the system).  You can see the service tag on the startup BIOS page.  If the mainboard was changed at any point, the service tag on the label may not be the one on the board (and that unlock key is tied to the service tag).

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govtdog
1 Copper

RE: Dumpster Diving: Found old Dell Laptop - Need help with Dell code to erase/reset admin password

The service tag which I posted is the one I got off the system disable scre=

en when I hit enter three times or when I now enter the code given to me by=

Dell.If the service tag can identify the personal information of the regis=

tered owner, then why wouldn't Dell just have the guy call me to give me th=

e code?

I work for a company who has ONLY Dell equipment and appreciate the admin c=

ode being a good deterrent to theft, but in this case, if the laptop was st=

olen why wouldn't Dell just have the owner call me to come and get his smas=

hed laptop which I retrieved from the property dumpster.

It cost me nothing to pull it from the dumpster but my time is valuable and=

the efforts I have expended to try and get this working has resulted in De=

ll wasting more of my time by feigning help and giving me some fake code to=

enter.

I am done wasting my time with this garbage laptop.... if the owner actuall=

y does contact me I can refer him to the Houston dump site where our dumpst=

ers are emptied each week.

Thanks for nothing Dell,

John

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livecam
1 Copper

RE: Dumpster Diving: Found old Dell Laptop - Need help with Dell code to erase/reset admin password

You need to find and pull the internal CMOS battery. The cmos battery is what saves the bios password. Can you list the laptop model and maybe someone can help you with the disassembly. They will probably be a little yellow or green battery, wrapped in plastic on a string type deal in older laptops. From google search, it looks like they also sometimes use a standard cr2032. Pull the battery out for like 5 minutes and then re insert. The bios password should now be wiped and all settings should be restored to their default.

www.google.ca/search

If its older than a 2nd gen core series (core i3 core i5, i7) i wouldnt bother as a core 2 duo laptop with a working screen and battery is like 50 bucks on craigslist. Anything older than core 2 duo is complete junk, like for instance a p4 or centrino one.

good luck

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8 Xenon

RE: Dumpster Diving: Found old Dell Laptop - Need help with Dell code to erase/reset admin password

The password on Dell notebooks is not stored in CMOS-backed memory.  It's stored in flash EEPROM -- removing the batteries will do nothing.

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govtdog
1 Copper

RE: Dumpster Diving: Found old Dell Laptop - Need help with Dell code to erase/reset admin password

The laptop is a Inspiron 5448 with a core I-5 processor and 8GB of memory.

Thanks to "livecam" for the attempted help. I had already checked out how to remove the battery and the process was way too complicated with regard to even getting to the battery... and as noted, it wouldn't help anyway.

Wouldn't Dell tell me if the laptop was stolen or lost by the original owner?

I gave them my personal information including email address and phone number and I have heard nothing from Dell.

The agent also said during our phone call that he would transfer ownership to me.... so, I'd guess that means that this laptop is clear in their system?

Anyway... I'll give it till Monday to figure out how to enter the admin code and then dumpster it goes since our dumpsters get dumped early on Tues morning....

Thanks again to everyone who tried to help!

John

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