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BIOS Password wipe on Panasonic CF-41 MKII

bolex

Experienced Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
459
Location
Utah
I picked up this mid-90's laptop the other day. It seems to be working and will start and test memory on boot. However, it has a password prompt. Does anyone have any experience with these early CF models and clearing the password on them? My google Fu Manchu is failing me.

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You should be able to remove the cmos battery a few minutes, and should reset the bios.
 
I'll give it a try, but I was thinking the BIOS actually stored data on the hard drive. The MKIII manual mentions a special drive partition specific for the BIOS data. However, I did find a very old UseNet thread that mentions unsoldering the CMOS battery and letting it sit for a while that seems to fix some issues. I might as well replace it while I do that. I have a hard time believing that the original CMOS battery is even holding a charge, but maybe it is.
 
Might be why it has a password, as its corrupted itself. Have you tried pulling the harddrive and seeing if the password is still locking the machine?
 
Have you tried pulling the harddrive and seeing if the password is still locking the machine
No, but that is an excellent idea. That should be easy enough since the hard drive is easily accessible. I'll give that a try this evening.
 
No, but that is an excellent idea. That should be easy enough since the hard drive is easily accessible. I'll give that a try this evening
I pulled the hard drive and it still gave me the password prompt. I'll disassemble and remove the CMOS battery next week when I get some free time.
 
Laptops often have the BIOS password stored in some bit of non-voltatile storage, sometimes on the BIOS chip itself. In cases like that, removing the CMOS battery won't do anything. But it's still worth a try if you haven't already.
 
Well, much like my FMA7600 laptops that had dead CMOS batteries, you'll need to enter the actual BIOS password to get in after you replace the clock battery and clear it. Panasonic probably could use the CMOS battery removal, however, if that doesn't work, there might be a list out there for this laptop.
 
Some laptops with BIOS passwords had a jumper of pads on the pcb which had to be shorted in order to clear or reset them. The pads would be marked with "pswd" or something similar, and accessible by way of an access panel for memory or a hard drive.
 
Many years ago i had a CF-28 that had a bios password, Removing the battery didn't work, I eventually found instructions on how to remove it using DEBUG, Luckily i could still boot from the floppy and it worked. I dunno about the CF-41 though, Too many years have gone by.
 
Many years ago i had a CF-28 that had a bios password, Removing the battery didn't work, I eventually found instructions on how to remove it using DEBUG, Luckily i could still boot from the floppy and it worked.
Possibly, the DEBUG method described in the fourth link at [here].
 
I ended up swapping the BR2016 CMOS battery that was soldered onto the motherboard and replaced it with a low profile CR2032 battery holder. When I had the CMOS battery out I shorted the CMOS battery circuit and held the power button on for 60 seconds. I'm not sure if that was all necessary, but when it was all put back together with a new CMOS battery installed, it booted without asking for the password. New CMOS battery seems to be working fine and it's keeping a current/date time. It booted to windows 98 - so the hard drive, floppy and CD-ROM drive are all working.

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Congrats on finding a mid-90s laptop! For password issues on early CF models, try locating the CMOS battery on the motherboard. Removing it for a few minutes may reset the BIOS and clear the password. If that doesn't work, check the motherboard for a set of jumper pins; moving the jumper to the reset position could also help. Alternatively, consult the Panasonic BIOS password recovery expert for more guidance. Good luck with your vintage tech adventure!
 
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