Downgrade/Unlock Dell Laptop BIOS (e6400/d630 series)

Sometimes it can be useful to downgrade the BIOS of a device. We’ve found that by downgrading the BIOS on laptops we can change the unlock code used to bypass BIOS lock codes. Most of the schools we work with receive donated equipment so being able to unlock the BIOS becomes imperative, especially during the imaging process. We’ve outlined the steps below to both downgrade the BIOS on an older Dell laptop, as well as include instructions as to unlocking a previously secured BIOS.

Step 1 – Create a Bootable Flash Drive

This process details creating a bootable USB flash drive that includes Hiren’s BootCD. If you’re unfamiliar with Hiren’s it is a great compilation of many tech tools that can be useful for diagnosing and fixing computers. Best of all it’s free, like much of the software we recommend. You’ll need the latest version of the software so you can download that here:

Download the latest Hiren’s BootCD

Once you have a copy of the .iso for Hiren’s you’ll need to follow and download a few more tools before you can boot from a flash device. As those steps have been carefully documented already, please follow this link to complete the process of creating a bootable Hiren’s flash drive:

How to create a bootable Hiren’s flash drive

Step 2 – Locate and load a compatible BIOS firmware

As we’re downgrading the BIOS version on a laptop it can sometimes be challenging to locate old firmware. Luckily for us Dell has their FTP publically accessible hence we can access almost any previous version of BIOS that we’ll need for the next step. Please browse to the following website in a FTP-compatible browser in order to locate the appropriate firmware. In my example I have connected to the website, entered the bios folder, and scrolled to located my specific BIOS version. Sometimes you may have to try a few versions before locating a correct one.

Dell Public FTP Repository

Once you’ve located a version and have downloaded it load the executable (.exe) onto the Hiren’s boot flash you previously created.

Step 3 – Boot and Flash

At this point you should have both a Hiren’s boot usb and a copy of a downgraded BIOS you intend to flash your device with. Reboot your Dell and press F12 to access the boot menu. Select the USB device you created and load Hiren’s. You’re prompted to select which Hiren’s tool you’d like to use and for this tutorial we’ll be using Mini Windows XP.

Once Mini Windows XP has loaded on your device, you must select the command prompt from the desktop to access the shell. At the command prompt shell you should type c: to access the flash device. If needed, you can also perform a dir to view all files on the flash device. Locate the Dell BIOS firmware you intend to flash and type it with the following /forceit flag:


At this point the BIOS upgrade launcher should load and it will inform you that BIOS downgrades are not recommended. Agree past all of the update screens and although the launcher states it will automatically reboot you will manually have to type exit to exit the shell and click the start menu to reboot the computer. Once rebooted the Dell BIOS update screen should appear and your BIOS should be downgraded. Be sure not to disconnect power or touch the device during the BIOS update for risk of ‘bricking’ the laptop.

Step 4 – Unlock the BIOS

At this final step you should have successfully downgraded your BIOS version in order to change the BIOS unlock code. Once you enter the BIOS and select the Unlock option you’ll be presented with a similar screen:

If your system number still contains a [1D3B, 1F5A, 3A5B, or 1F66] then you will need to downgrade to a different BIOS version before you will be able to unlock the device. If your system number ends in a different alphanumeric key then you can continue. For this step you can download the offline tool and keep a local copy or use the following BIOS Master Password Generator website. Please make sure to type your system number all in CAPS and include the exact spelling with hyphens. An example of a successfully generated key can be found here:

As you can see a long password is generated (dell by serial number) which should be entered to unlock the BIOS of your Dell laptop. Please make sure to enter the password exactly as listed paying close attention to the difference between a letter l and the number 1.

The BIOS Password unlocker website and downloadable tool can be found below. As always, if you have trouble with these steps please don’t hesitate to contact us for support. Good luck and get cracking!

BIOS Master Password Generator for Laptops

Dell Master BIOS Decompiler

ClearOS 6.x Filter Bypass Script

A very special thanks to our friends at ClearOS for working with us to customize a dansguardian bypass page for their latest version of ClearOS. Please follow the link below for instructions on customizing your ClearOS content-filter in order to add a username/password bypass that staff can use to bypass the filter.

It’s a great feature to enable in educational settings as it allows for CIPA compliance, yet flexibility for staff when encountering restricted websites. If you encounter any problems on setup please contact us so we can assist with your specific setup. Take care!

ClearOS 6.x Filter Block Page Override Instruction

Fix Blocked Java

Due to recent security issues Java has changed the way their web plugin functions. However many websites required older, different versions of Java and therefore it is essential to allow these older versions to still run. Below I’ve outlined the steps necessary to allow these older versions access.

First, you must open your Java Control Panel.

Click on the Start Button and type the following: configure

Then, click on the Configure Java shortcut as displayed below.


From this Control Panel you will need to make a change to the Security tab as depicted. Lower the security level to medium. This will allow all java applications to run after the display of a security prompt to confirm.


Embedding from Google Drive

A lot of the work we do for clients tends to be online and I find myself using Google Drive more and more. Not only to share files and documents client information but also as a fileshare. Google recently dropped their online storage costs significantly so it’s a great service to consider if you need online storage space.

Today’s trick is a simple bit of code that can be used to embed files located in your Google drive. The first step you will need to accomplish is to locate the actual fileID of your Google Doc. Open whatever file you’re wishing to embed and notice the fileID located in the URL in your address bar.


Make sure you copy that address as we’ll use in with our next bit of code. Copy the following code and replace [put your file id here] with the actual fileID you located in our previous step.

Embed Code

Just click the above image to zoom in on the code, or copy and paste from the code listed below.

<iframe src=”[put your file id here]&pid=explorer&efh=false&a=v&chrome=false&embedded=true” width=”640px” height=”480px”></iframe>

You can easily adjust the size of the embed window via the above code, just adjust either the width or height values. Additionally, the code removes the standard left-navigation bar making a clean embed very simple. As always please contact us with any questions or comments and thanks for visiting!

Mac/OSX AppleMobileDeviceHelper / SyncServices Error Easy Quick Fix

Is your Apple iDevice not being recognized properly in iTunes?
Have an iPhone/iPad that doesn’t want to backup or sync in iTunes?
Does iTunes popup error messages relating to Apple Mobile Device Services, iTunes unable to load class information from Sync Services, or other sync errors?

Doing a simple web search will provide numerous links showing these problems, and Apple has not provided an easy solution to them at the moment. After dealing with these issues a few times – I came up with a simple solution that has worked consistently.

Since iTunes 11 – you cannot easily revert to iTunes 10.7, so downgrading or uninstalling/reinstalling iTunes is not an option.

First Step
(These are taken from, and detailed here :

• Disconnect your device from your Mac.
• Choose Go > Go to Folder.
• Enter /System/Library/Extensions and click Go.
• Locate the file AppleMobileDevice.kext and drag it to the Trash.
• Choose Go > Go to Folder.
• Enter /Library/Receipts/ and click Go.
• Locate the file AppleMobileDeviceSupport.pkg and drag it to the Trash.
• Restart the computer.
• Choose Finder > Empty Trash and restart the computer.

Second Step

• Download/install Xcode from the App Store.
• Choose Go > Go to Applications.
• Right Click on the Xcode icon and select Show Package Contents.
• Navigate to /Contents/Resources/Packages/ and install the MobileDevice.pkg
• Connect your device and enjoy a clean backup / sync.

That is it!

Secure your WordPress Installation

There are many plugins that can be used to enhance the security of your WordPress website. Additionally you can add some code to your local .htaccess file that will work in conjunction with plugins to really harden your installation against attacks. Below I’ve outlined some specific plugins I have found useful as well as some instructions that can be used to secure your installation.

Ultimate Security Checker by Eugene Pyvovarov is a security plugin that performs simple checks on your WordPress installation and can be used to highlight missed aspects of your installation.

WP Security Scan by WebsiteDefender is another useful WordPress security tool that will give your website a rating dependent on how secure it is.

Better WP Security by is a tool that will automatically ‘harden’ your website against basic WordPress attacks. Be careful with this one as you can harden your website so securely that you may be unable to get back in!

In order to modify your .htaccess file merely FTP into your website and modify the .htaccess file with a text-editor of your choice. I prefer to use WinSCP for FTP as it has a built-in file editor. If you’d like to use WinSCP, you can download it from here.

Once you’ve logged into your FTP modify the .htaccess file located at the root of your installation.

In order to block specific IP addresses from accessing your WordPress site, merely add the following code to the .htaccess file replacing the IP’s I have listed with the ones you’d like to block.

order allow.deny htaccess

Additionally you can add the following code to harden your WordPress install against the use of malicious code that can be injected into your site.

mod_rewrite.c code

Once you’ve added the code listed above merely save the .htaccess file and you should be good to go. I’ve also included a link at the end of this post with good information on other methods you can use to secure your installation.

Hardening WordPress Installation
Courtesy of

Google Docs / Drive Firewall Settings

As Jefferson County Schools in Colorado have switched to Google Applications many local schools have some issues with accessing the various Google Applications from behind their firewall or from their location. Google released a document that outlines the various network changes that are necessary in order to allow Google Applications to work at your location.

Google Drive and Sites were designed to work on uninhibited networks. However, for domain and network administrators with specific firewalls and/or servers, the following sites must be accessible for Google Drive and Sites to function properly:

For the following, [N] means any single decimal digit. * means any string not containing a period.

Documents List, Documents, Presentations, and Drawings
http (port 80) connection to, docs[N] and *
https (port 443) connection to and docs[N]
https (port 443) connection to *

http (port 80) connection to,, spreadsheets[N], and *
https (port 443) connection to, and spreadsheets[N]

http (port 80) connection to
https (port 443) connection to
https (port 443) connection to *

All Google Drive products
https (port 443) connection to
https (port 443) connection to
https (port 443) connection to *
https (port 443) connection to
https (port 443) connection to *

The IP addresses that the various domain names resolve to cannot be assumed to fall inside any given address range. IP addresses used by Google Drive may be used by other Google properties. The techniques that Google Drive uses to connect to Google servers depend on the browser, browser version, and networking conditions, among other things. Even if activity to some of the addresses above is not observed in a particular Google Drive product, that doesn’t mean it never will be.

This information was obtained by visiting

How to Disable SBCore Service – Disabling sbscrexe.exe Event ID 1001 / 1013 / 1014

A client recently migrated from a SBS 2003 server to a SBS 2011 installation. During the migration – they discovered legacy applications that weren’t meant to run on a x64 platform. They decided to keep the older SBS 2003 server to run these applications after demoting it from a Domain Controller.

They contacted us after a week – informing us that their older SBS 2003 server keeps rebooting. Looking in the logs we noticed a handful of related events – ID 1001/1013/1014. Looking at – it explains that they are in violation of the EULA relating to SBS 2003.

They needed to migrate their applications and data over to a new server but couldn’t do so while the system kept rebooting. To allow them to migrate their information, we disabled the C:\WINDOWS\system32\sbscrexe.exe process that was responsible for rebooting the server every 60 minutes.

This was accomplished by:

1) Booting the server into a Linux Live-CD distribution (we used the GParted Live CD found here:

2) Mounting the hard drive partition that contains the Windows installation.

3) Browsing to \WINDOWS\system32\ and either renaming or deleting the sbscrexe.exe file.

4) Rebooting the server into Windows and verifying that the sbscrexe.exe process is no longer running in the task manager.

There are numerous posts online that describe editing permissions on the registry and file while in the Windows environment – we found the Live-CD method to be the easiest and safest for resolving this issue. If you are experiencing issues related to the SBCore service and need help – please don’t hesitate in contacting us.

ClearOS Dansguardian accessdenied.php Bypass Script

Using Dansguardian on ClearOS, ClarkConnect, or any basic *unix setup, you can configure a .php script to bypass the content filtering software for a set amount of time using a defined username and password. This walkthrough involves the modification of configuration files and general *unix knowledge. If you need additional assistance please don’t hesitate to contact us via email or phone.


This walkthrough requires a fully configured content filter utilizing Dansguardian or Dansguardian-AV utilizing a transparent proxy!

We need to first log into our server via console or SSH. Once logged in we need to locate the first file to edit called dansguardian.conf

To locate the file, as the location varies, I prefer to use the universal *unix find command-

In the case above, the file is located in the /etc/dansguardian-av/ directory. To edit the file, you can use your favorite *unix text editor. In this case I am going to use nano as it’s fairly easy to use-

There are a few settings that must be configured correctly in this file for later us:

  • Set the reporting level to 1 or 2 depending on your needs
  • Point the accessdenied.php script to a file location in which we’ll create later
  • Enable the non-standard delimiter in order to allow dansguardian to correctly pass information to our script

Please note the in above image the ip-address reflects the location of your transparent proxy server.

Now we need to edit the dansguardianf1.conf file which is located in the same location:

There are additional settings we need to change here:

  • Change the temporary bypass denied page setting to -1 which configures dansguardian to use our script file
  • You must generate a md5 key that will be unique to our script (see link below)
  • Change reporting level to match setting in dansguardian.conf file

Follow this link to generate a MD5 Key: Generate MD5 Key

We now have to create our accessdenied.php script. This file is located in the transparent web-proxy public location. To locate it, we’ll use the find command again:

In the case above we notice the public directory resides in /var/webconfig/. Let’s create our accessdenied file in the public directory:

To access an example .pdf document outlining the accessdenied.php script, please click the link below:

An outline of some key settings are displayed below:

The last step is to create a text file containing a username and password used to bypass the filter. You need to place this file outside of the public www directory used by the transparent-proxy. In the following example I placed the file named access.txt a directory below the public www:

The file can contain a simple username and password separated by use of a tab or space:

Once done, save the file, restart the service, and your should be good to go!

Dell D630/D830 Windows 7 64-bit Touchpad Drivers

Ran into an odd issue after installing SP1 for Windows 7 x64 on a Dell D630, the touchpad / pointing stick stopped responding.

Looking at driver download page for the D630 / D830 (Windows Vista 64-bit) on Dell’s support site shows there are no drivers provided for the touchpad / pointing stick.

I find the lack of updated drivers to be a common problem with Dell’s support site, the solution is usually very simple – look for a similar model system with the correct drivers. In this case the driver page for the D430 provides us with a 64-bit install package for the Dell touchpad / pointing stick.

You can go to Dell’s support site here and download it. Or you can also download it here: