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SGI Lost PROM nvram Password

From Higher Intellect Vintage Wiki

by Jodeman

When you first power up the system, you encounter this familiar graphic. Note that sometimes on older systems with lower CPUs running Irix 5.3 or earlier, you’ll see the same thing but in plain text.

When you try to enter the Install System Software, Run Diagnostics & Enter Command Monitor options, there is a prompt to Enter Password.

To disable this password on Indy & Indigo2 systems, it’s simply a matter of opening the cover, removing a jumper from the motherboard and then powering up the system again. The procedure is as follows:

  • With the system powered off, remove top cover of the system.
  • Find the black jumper on the motherboard and remove it.
  • On the Indy, the jumper is located next to the connectors where the power supply plugs into the motherboard.
  • On an Indigo2, the jumper is a little harder to get to. It is located on the motherboard underneath the 5.25" disk drive tray.
  • On an O2, it’s a little bit different. Remove the jumper that is located under the CPU board next to the black chip & replace it onto the 2-pin jumper slot right next to the memory banks.
  • Once the jumper is removed, power up the system and enter the System Maintenance menu again.
  • When you try to enter the previously password-protected menu options, you should get this message: "Warning: Password jumper has been removed. Not enforcing PROM password"
  • Now enter the Command Monitor and use the resetpw command to remove the password.

Power off the system and put the jumper back onto the motherboard from where you removed it. The next time you start the system, the password should be gone.

For removing the PROM password from an Indigo, Origin 200 or Crimson system, I’ll repeat what was copied from from the previous page about removing the ROOT password.

If you've lost your PROM password but can still log in as root, you can zero the PROM password with 'nvram passwd_key ""'. If not, you'll have to disable the PROM password via the hardware. On a 4D/35 or Crimson, find the battery which maintains the nvram ("non-volatile RAM") and remove it.

On a Personal Iris system, you have to open the right side panel. Holding the E-module (metal box containing the CPU & Graphics boards) in place is one screw accompanied with the little sign underneath saying "Unscrew to Remove". By removing the top screw, the E-module should be able to lean out. You will some cables plugged into the E-module. Remove the smallest 10-pin plug. This is the equivalent of removing the black jumper from the motherboard on the Indy and Indigo2. Once, the 10-pin plug is removed, power up the system and enter the Command Monitor. Use the resetpw command to remove the password. Once the password has been removed, power the system off and plug the 10-pin plug back into the E-module.