Hello, I have been experiencing a problem with my laptop. I seem to have forgotten my laptop's password and now I need to unlock it. I have a lot of data on it and cannot afford to lose it by formatting the system. My laptop’s configuration is as follows: Intel Core i7 – 720 QM processor, 4GB of RAM (2 x 2GB each), a PCI express graphics card with 1GB of DDR5 RAM and the operating system installed is Windows 7 Home Premium Edition. Please help me unlock the password (just as we could do the same in Windows XP). And also, can you please suggest a good antivirus utility in the budget of Rs 1,000? Presently, I am using Microsoft Security Essentials. Thank you in advance.
Hello Daksh. Your query sounds a bit confusing as you first refer to unlocking your laptop and then you refer to cracking the password similar to Windows XP. It either means that you want to crack the password of the laptop motherboard's BIOS or the user password of your operating system. Well, I shall try to answer both possibilities.
In order to reset the password of your laptop motherboard’s BIOS, you need to reset the CMOS settings. To reset the CMOS, you will need to open up the laptop shell and locate the CMOS battery. Then you will need to disconnect or remove it completely. Wait for around 15-20 minutes without switching on the system or the power and then replace the battery on the motherboard again. This procedure will help reset the CMOS settings completely, including the passwords, if any.
Keep in mind though, that locating the CMOS battery will vary from laptop to laptop and opening the laptop without any expertise or knowledge of doing so can void warranty and also cause serious damage to the laptop. Refer to the user’s manual if there are any procedures mentioned about removing or replacing the CMOS battery. Get help from the manufacturer’s website or call their helpline number to check if they can help you out here. I would suggest you leave it to an expert who can help you with this issue.
Unlcoking your laptop
On the other hand, to reset the password from Windows 7, you would need to crack the password using a third party Linux-based boot CD/DVD or USB drive. One option is by downloading ‘Ophcrack Live CD’ from ‘http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/’, burning it on a CD/DVD or installing it on a USB pen drive and cracking the password after booting from this medium. After booting from the CD, DVD or USB drive, you shall be taken through a small wizard, which you need to follow and crack the password. Though these applications are not guaranteed to crack the password with 100 percent success, they are definitely worth a try.
There is no other easier way to reset the password but to reformat the entire system and reload Windows completely. You can remove the hard drive from the laptop, connect it to any desktop computer and back up your important data before formatting the drive.
Finally, Microsoft Security Essentials is a free antivirus for registered Windows users and is good enough. You can choose to use any of the recommended (paid) antivirus applications such as Norton, MacAfee, Quick heal, Trend Micro or Kaspersky. All vary by performance and features and updates are usually available constantly. There are no actual statistics that can prove which antivirus utility is better than the other. Comparing an antivirus today will be different from tomorrow as there are viruses that are developed almost every day and certain antivirus companies are faster in detecting them and releasing updates, while others might still be researching for a much better solution.