Read this First


Read this First
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I know this may all be very exciting and you are ready to start ordering KeyMaker board and stripping down your TP and jump into it, but WAIT! read all of this first.

Most people are absolutely certain they have a Supervisor Password (SVP) set .

There is a chance you may not have a SVP set in your TP.

I have exchanged emails with many people who have gone through all the SVP unlocking thing read the EEPROM, wasted days,  only to discover there is no SVP set at all.

How is that possible, are these people really dumb or something.

The answer is NO, these are all perfectly sane intelligent people. 

The real problem is IBM/Lenovo and their warped sense of humour.

When you really do have strong security, you challenge people to try and defeat it, you invite peer review  to make sure it is in fact secure.

When you have flimsy security and obstinately pretend it is so secure even the manufacturer cant unlock it, well you have to get all secretive and vague about it all praying customers wont find out, in other words an illusion of strong security which is what we have here.

Clearing a Supervisor Password (SVP) from a TP is fairly straightforward.

Once you know how to avoid all the TRAPS IBM/Lenovo have set for you the customer.

Trap number 1, the Hard Disk Password (HDP)

If at any time you see this Password prompt icon

That icon with the small number 1 (it may be a small number 2 or 3 if you have more than one Hard Disk] means the HDP is set. You will not be able to easily recover or clear the HDP, KMX1 or KMX2 will NOT recover or clear HDP.

It will cost you more to clear the HDP than a new reliable Hard disk with warranty is worth.

Clearing a HDP is only worth the expense and effort if there is valuable data on the Hard disk that MUST be recovered.

If HDP is set then remove the Hard Disk [HD] before continuing so that you can determine which other passwords (IF ANY) you need to recover or clear.

There may not be any other password set!

Ok, you removed the HD and you see yet another Password Prompt icon.

Trap number 2, the guessing game - is it  SVP or POP -

The trap is that IBM/Lenovo in their wisdom chose to have THE SAME PASSWORD PROMPT ICON for BOTH SVP and Power on Password (POP)

The password prompt icon pictured above
Does NOT define which PASSWORD it is asking you to enter.

It can be either POP or SVP

Note: On some Lenovo ThinkPad models under some circumstances a Supervisor Password prompt icon looks like this 

I have only seen this distinctive SVP icon on one ThinkPad, so it is RARE for now, almost all ThinkPads to date use the same icon to prompt for POP and SVP.

Only ONE way to find out for sure which one it is and maybe save a LOT of time.

  1. Identify your TP model

  2. Download the Hardware Maintenance Manual (HMM) for your TP model

Spend the time to read the first part of the HMM which deals with Cautions some of which like for example Shock Sensors  are very important, you would not want to roughly handle your System board to find out when you power it up to unlock it that in fact you have ruined it.

Read the HMM section dealing with Passwords and become familiar with how to remove Power on Password [POP


If you have a ThinkPad that can boot even though it has a Supervisor Password set

Removing Power On Password [POP] will render it unbootable Until the Supervisor Password is removed AND the correct Date and TIME are set in BIOS setup

Having first READ AND UNDERSTOOD THE WARNING ABOVE YOU DECIDE if you will follow the instructions for POP Removal 

NOTE - IMPORTANT - make sure you do read this !!

The instructions in the IBM/Lenovo HMM regarding POP removal are easily misunderstood.

The CMOS backup battery [small single cell lithium battery, usually yellow colour] must be disconnected.

Main battery MUST be removed.

AC Adaptor MUST be unplugged from the ThinkPad.

In other words the ThinkPad must have absolutely no electrical power, no CMOS battery - no main battery - no AC adaptor connected.

Then with NO ELECTRICAL POWER at all to the ThinkPad WAIT A FEW MINUTES just to be on the safe side.

Confirm that POP has in fact been removed;

After POP removal, connect the CMOS battery, install the Main battery, connect the AC adaptor.

Switch the ThinkPad ON and you should see an ERROR MESSAGE about Date and Time needing to be set.

That error message is your confirmation of a successful POP removal.

That is NOT a real error, it simply means that once you can go into BIOS setup you need to set the correct Date and Time, so it is not something that is of real concern, nothing is wrong, this is normal.

If you do not see an error message that means that you DID NOT reset POP. Main reason is usually that you have not removed ALL POWER from the ThinkPad, read the "NOTE - IMPORTANT" paragraph above and try POP removal again.

After performing POP Removal 

if there is no password prompt icon displayed, you are done, your TP is unlocked, go to BIOS setup by pressing F1 when switching ON [press ESC key to continue past the error message] and set Date and Time then press F10 to save.

if you have performed POP Removal and you continue to see this password prompt icon

It does NOT mean you didn't perform POP Removal correctly

It means that with POP removed, you have now absolutely confirmed that you do indeed have a SVP set and you can now put the time and effort into removing or clearing it.

I didn't know there was a Supervisor Password (SVP) set - did the ThinkPad (TP) set one all by itself ?

Lots of TP users are not aware that their TP has a SVP set.

A TP with a SVP set does NOT prompt for the SVP when switched on and is allowed to boot normally.

This is exactly how I got involved in SVP password recovery.

My TP worked perfectly for many months until one day I needed to change a setting in BIOS setup.

It was only when I pressed F1 to enter BIOS setup that a SVP prompt appeared.

If the CMOS battery goes flat or is disconnected for even a very brief period the Date and Time are reset, next time the TP is switched on it absolutely insists that you go to BIOS setup in order to set the correct Date and time, if there was a SVP set [even though you had no idea a SVP was already set] then it prompts for the SVP.

No, the TP will never set a SVP all by itself, human intervention is always required to set a SVP.


I make no warranty that any of my information is correct, or safe, or does or does not breach any warranty clause,  or anything else, it is up to you to decide if you will follow all or any of the instructions to recover the Supervisor Password from a TP. It is up to you to decide, I am not responsible for the results or for any consequential or incidental damages whatsoever.

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This site maintained by Joe in Australia

Last updated on Monday, 12 December 2016 06:31:09 PM  

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