Login Bypass on Dell Latitude E4300 Laptop

When my Dell Latitude E4300 laptop’s keyboard was failing at a few keys, I couldn’t log in using the usual method. I could have plugged in a USB keyboard, but I found another way using the unreliable internal keyboard.

An alternative way to boot past the BIOS into the OS and apps is to try the BIOS system password instead of the BIOS administrative password. After that works, if you are asked for the BIOS hard drive password you don’t need it, so you can type anything for that, press Enter, and wait for the rejection. When you get three of those, the BIOS login system will abort and then the computer will let you press F2 to get to the BIOS.

Do that. Then try to set the date and time. You don’t have to actually set the date and time if they’re okay now; you just have to act like you’re going to. To do that, go to the date-and-time screen and unlock it. That brings a dialog for unlocking it. To unlock it, type the BIOS administrative password into the dialog. This time, each character you type will be represented in the dialog by a missing-character symbol (an asterisk). Therefore, if a keyboard key cap is not producing anything, you’ll see that no missing-character symbol is showing up and you can try pressing that key cap again; while if it doubles, you’ll see the effect of that, too, and you can correct it. You may want to type slowly so you can see every missing-character symbol appear (or not) while you press each key cap.

Once you successfully complete that dialog, you can click to exit the BIOS. Exiting will take you to the operating system (in my case, to the OS hard drive login step, which shows what I’m typing with missing-character symbols, so I can retype or correct as needed).

Then, I can use the computer like usual.

And, it’s simpler if I’ll be using a live disc. Before the BIOS login step, the screen says I can get boot options by pressing F12, which I press, getting me a one-time boot menu. After the BIOS login with the system password instead of the admin password, the one-time menu lists the disc drive without the internal hard drive. I can drop in the live disc and get to work.