Someone asked me to work on their Windows 10 laptop this week and I was in for something I’ve never witnessed in my computer repair career. They had two passwords they forgot and now they can’t use the laptop. The first password was the BIOS user password which appears immediately after the laptop was turned on with a simple “Enter Password” on the screen. This happens before Microsoft Windows starts. A BIOS password prevents unauthorized people from changing settings like the boot device order so they could boot to a USB device and steal your files before the hard drive starts Windows or Linux. I tried some obvious passwords without success. Next, I looked through my client notes and found three passwords they used in the past. One of them actually worked and allowed Windows 10 to start and now I had a Windows login screen.
Unfortunately, now I had to login to Windows and none of the three passwords worked. To get past this login hurdle, I booted with one of my password utilities. Their password was cleared and now when Windows starts, no password is required. I also cleared the BIOS user password so they don’t have to enter it every time the computer is turned on.