E5400 laptop - Unable to install Windows OS

December 2016



Issue


I have a Latitude E5400 that has been left untouched for ages. The Windows XP installed keeps rebooting, and I figured I could just reinstall XP to see if it still works. During setup I run into an error telling me to check for viruses or run chkdsk. It's a blue screen and it happens at the same time during setup. I also can't access the BIOS because it is passworded.

Solution

  • The BIOS SATA configuration was set to AHCI mode, I needed to change it to SATA.
  • The real problem though was getting past the BIOS password.
  • Apparently Latitude laptops enforce a created BIOS password by ensuring it cannot be erased, even by removing the CMOS battery.
  • I tried calling Dell but since I am not the original owner I could not request a master password.
  • I had to take the service tag found in the BIOS when asking for a password (11 characters I think), and use a dell master password keygen to get in.
  • It worked and I changed the setting, thus allowing me to install Windows XP.


Thanks to Jeff for this tip.

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