So as some may know I'm putting Linux on my old Dell laptop. Replacement hard drive arrives today. In anticipation, I felt like messing around on it with a LiveUSB of Lubuntu yesterday.
Except that it kept popping up asking for the BIOS password. So I typed it in. No good. Tried other possibilities. No good. And I'm going "WTF! I know what the damn password is. How can it be changed?"
After much Internet searching, I find a suggestion that says pull/replace the mobo battery. Took apart the top half, no battery. Well, maybe it's under the RAM? Nope. But it WAS underneath the mobo in some godforsaken corner. (Oh, Dell....) Of course it was soldered in, so I gave up and decided not to mess with it. Then I reassembled the laptop.
Tried to fire up the laptop. Monitor didn't turn on and the whole thing turns off after 10 seconds. Ooookay. Turns out that you have to reseat the RAM perfectly. I thought I did a pretty good job. Heck, the clips were happy. So I pulled the RAM, gave a quick little wipe to the terminals, and reseated it. Now it works.
I'm thinking "okay, well that was a dumb solution." Then I remembered another dumb solution for the BIOS password problem. Someone said that the onboard keyboard might not be so accurate for typing the BIOS password, so you should try using a USB keyboard. I didn't quite get it then, but it makes sense now. Sure enough, I plugged in the USB keyboard and typed my password.
It worked. Son of a bitch.
Lesson: it's sometimes worth it to try the quick, seemingly silly solution.