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May 18th, 2024 17:30

17 R5, Bios locked out, poor Customer Service

Alienware 17 R5

Alienware 17 R5

Last year I posted about a now 4 year old 2018 Alienware 17 R5. It sports a GTX 1080 and an i7-8th gen CPU with 16GB RAM. I have been unable to obtain a correct BIOS unlock password from Dell even after jumping through all the hoops and trying the password they shared with me! The issue: I set my BIOS 'Unlock Setup' password about 2.5 years ago. I want to modify some settings and potentially sell this laptop by removing that password, so I contacted Dell Support. They gave me a wrong BIOS password then claim my computer hardware is to blame.


1. I confirmed I owned the laptop with Dell to their level of satisfaction.
2. The customer representative Waseem was unprofessional last year as well as incompitent in both communication and ability to provide a working password for unlocking my BIOS.
3. I have reached out to Dell again on this issue today via email correspondence and will update this thread post with the ongoing progress in hopes to shed light on how others might be successful as well at gaining a valid password for unlocking their BIOS.


Last year, when the BIOS password given to me by support did not work, the agent told me to re-seat my CMOS battery even though the chip responsible for housing the password is the non-volitile type of memory and thus shorting the chip would not work to reset the memory. I still tried this method anyway to satisfy the demands of the respresentative just in case I was wrong and they knew better than me. The representative then claimed my hardware was to blame. But nothing is wrong with my laptop. I just decided I wanted to change my settings in the BIOS, nothing else went wrong. The agent then tried to push me to pay for a service charge and ship my laptop out to them. HAH! yeah right. I'm not about to for what will inevitably be a $200-$800 charge as I've witnessed others go through with Dell. They also refuse to reveal which chip is responsible for housing the BIOS password. I would otherwise just resolder a new one on if I could get my hands on a new chip.

I'm writing this post to bring to light this poor service. I hope they can improve their service and not put up a paywall just to obtain access to the very device I already paid $1500 for just 3 years ago (4 years have elapsed for this 2nd post I am writing).

I'll say the same thing I said last post; Dell and Dell brand associated laptops will never be my first choice in laptops in the future. I would still use them for desktops as you can easily short the password reset on the motherboard to reset the BIOS password on those, but not so for the laptops as they implemented this for multiple reasons with one being to deter theives. Ultimately, Dell has proven themselves iresponsible and failed me and many others in the same situation as myself to provide access to our own products. Dell failed last year in providing a valid password for unlocking my BIOS. This is irresponsible behavior on the company's end as we (Dell's customers) are backed into a corner with no recourse. We are not in control of our products, we are at the mercy of a company that has no incentive to truly help us. Last year they went through the motions to check a box that says they at least tried something. This is not truly resolving the problem.

If I sell a bunch of houses where I manufacture keys to their house that are so unique and proprietary such that they cannot get a key replicated by normal means and they MUST rely on me (the sole owner and engineering mastermind of the security system), then surely, it is reasonable to expect them to take organization and keeping of those keys seriously. If they failed to produce a key that worked for your home, you would be completely locked out of everything you use and need on a dialy basis. You would be forced to start over and start new. No access to your food, clothes, shower, all the thousands of dollars of products you have inside your home, or anything sentimental that you have stored in that home.

I want to bring to light how egregious this issue is and how important is it to solve.

5 Practitioner

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5.3K Posts

May 18th, 2024 21:10

Why should anyone else held responsible for your system and your action?

One should not use and set up password to a system without knowing how to safekeeping the password to log in.  It was not anyone else responsibility to log in for you.  

For the users whom wanted to set password to keep their systems safe, a unique and secure system is what they would want.  Your reasoning is contrary to the meaning of secure.  What's the point of setting password if it can be unlocked easily. 
 
It's good that Dell still provide system unlock service as the last resort.  To obtain the service to unlock a system would required proof of ownership, that is very understandable.  Legit owner would have no problem with proof and gladly paid for their system unlocked.  The only complaints are from systems with questionable origin.

If you are locked out, that is the irresponsibility solely on your part, no one else.

6 Professor

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6.1K Posts

May 21st, 2024 18:25

Hi @Timothy Sands please create Restore Point and clone (copy) of the OS (C:) drive just in case the boot drive becomes unrecoverable.
Create a system restore point - Microsoft Support
Download Macrium Reflect x64 FREE Edition - MajorGeeks

The Alienware 17 R5 (4/16/2018) has CMOS Coin-cell battery CR-2032 to power retention of BIOS information (Date, Time, Windows password, etc.).  Please remove the Coin-cell battery and perform Hard Reset (Flea power release). This process should reset the BIOS default password to the OFF factory setting. 
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