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Old 08-02-2009, 08:06 AM   #1
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Exclamation COMPLETE linux idiot wants to try and uninstall ubuntu in favour of xp

I am trying to sort out a laptop for friend - her husband just died and she wants her son to be able to use his laptop. However they weren't together at the time so no passwords or anything. It's using ubuntu - of which I have no experience - and I want to put XP on it. I have the bootable xp disk - works fine on other machines - but the laptop wont boot from it. At all! I was able to log on to his account following a how to thing online... but the bios is password locked so I cant change it to boot from cd. It's so old too, that I am not even sure that it is able to. I am so baffled by Linux I cant even tell if it is wireless or not! Have no idea where to go from here - any help would be massively appreciated!!

Last edited by vi08mbelc; 08-02-2009 at 08:08 AM.
Old 08-02-2009, 08:11 AM   #2
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:22 AM   #3
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This might be a solution to your problem if you have a floppy drive.
Old 08-02-2009, 08:26 AM   #4
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Well, about the only way to get the BIOS p/w changed is to remove the battery and back-up battery (usually a small disk battery on the laptop's mother board), and the the system sit for a day or so. You'll need to locate the laptop's maintenance manual to find the instruction for doing this. (Such manuals are usually available as PDF files on-line.)

Since you've already been able to boot the Ubuntu system, you'd probably be better off just to bite the bullet and let your friend's son use it. It's not that different from Windows, and the software is a lot cheaper.
Old 08-02-2009, 08:35 AM   #5
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There are some laptops e.g. Dells where it is possible to get a BIOS password from the 'net. What make and model is it? Not the BIOS password, but it is possible to reset the Ubuntu password - see "How to reset your password in Ubuntu" at
Old 08-02-2009, 03:39 PM   #6
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Do BIOS's still store things like passwords in the memory that depends on the RTC (real time clock) battery? Or are they stored in flash?

Most of the instructions for removing BIOS passwords seem to be based on old desktop system motherboards. Can a non expert even get physical access to that part of a laptop computer? Some desktop computers which store data in flash still have a jumper on the motherboard that does approximately the job that the RTC battery jumpers did on old motherboards. Do laptop computers have such jumpers?

There are many resources in Linux to find out your hardware such as
less /proc/cpuinfo
cat /proc/partitions
Those aren't necessarily the best tools, but you would get a general idea how fast the CPU is, how much ram there is, and how big the hard drive(s) are. If any of those are too low for the computer to have any real value, at least you'd find that out before investing too much more time.
Old 08-03-2009, 07:38 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies. At for resetting the BIOS password. I have tried all the backdoor entry ones and found that it has a security chip. I think this means that resetting the CMOS wouldn't work. It's a toshiba satellite 1900-303. It does have a floppy drive, is the only machine in the house to have one but no access to the internet. Thanks again for all the replies.
Old 08-03-2009, 07:53 AM   #8
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Have you tried the password "toshiba"
Old 08-04-2009, 02:16 PM   #9
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Not the BIOS, but did you get the XP-cd to boot...

Here is probably the definitive page for the rawrite utility.

Assuming that, if your machine with the present BIOS settings will not boot from the CD drive, it will boot from A, the first floppy, rawrite will be booted, then can be used to boot a CD. You can use a linux live-cd to download rawrite and make the floppy.

It's an old work-around for installing linux from the days when no BIOS would boot from anything but the floppy drive or the HDD.

Last edited by thorkelljarl; 08-04-2009 at 02:23 PM.
Old 08-05-2009, 12:40 PM   #10
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Right, have searched all over for the battery with the aid of technician at work - no luck.

When I first turn it on the toshiba screen shows, and says press f2 for setup and f12 for boot options. Press f12 then get three options, boot from hard drive (with cross - like you could expand it) boot from removable disks (with cross - like you could expand it) and boot from network. I move down to removable disk hit enter, then the grub thing pops up and ubuntu loads! It is a Toshiba Satellite 1900-303. Thanks for all your help!
Old 08-05-2009, 12:51 PM   #11
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You're in the wrong place. The correct place for you to go for help with what you wish to do is

Good luck with your quest.
Old 08-05-2009, 12:58 PM   #12
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You're in the wrong place. The correct place for you to go for help with what you wish to do is
Old 08-05-2009, 01:04 PM   #13
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Assuming you have the means (another computer) with which to download a/the BIOS for the laptop from the manufacturer or vendor website, why not do that, put it onto a floppy disk or other media as per the instructions on that manufacturer or vendor website, follow the instructions on that website again to FLASH the BIOS? Surely (I've never seen it NOT) this will reset any password & CMOS that is being retained on the machine.


EDIT: I missed the part about no other machine, no internet connection. SORRY

EDIT2: Wait now... How are you typing in this thread???

Last edited by GrapefruiTgirl; 08-05-2009 at 01:06 PM.
Old 08-05-2009, 03:55 PM   #14
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Actually, Sasha, after very careful reading, I'm not certain that vi08mbelc meant that he/she did not have another machine nor access to the Internet, but that it was the friend who owned the laptop who had no Internet access...and that was perhaps only from the laptop.

That is one problem with being very informal in these forums: sometimes we need a touch more precision to correctly understand the situation.

And may I also add, we have a large number of readers who speak English as a second language, which is not really a bad thing, just something we should remember when posting.

One other thing: I know Linux isn't for everyone (yet), but am I the only one here who is cringing just a little bit to hear a story of someone wanting to uninstall a Linux distro in favour of XP?

Good luck, anyway, vi08mbelc.
Old 08-05-2009, 04:07 PM   #15
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Yeah, I cringe a little but understand that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. If the teen wants to get use out of his dads laptop and he has no interest in learning Linux, it's a shame but that's his call. If he were the one on here perhaps we could help him through his newbie Linux problems ...but he's not so, not a whole lot we can do other than try to help.
With bios password protected I don't think you can upgrade bios until you supply the password. I think I would take this issue to Toshiba and see what they suggest. There has to be a way to get past that password.
Does this make anyone else wonder if something happened to you would any of your computers be able to be used by family after your untimely demise? Not sure what to do about it but it has raised that question in my mind.
Good luck getting the laptop going.



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