BIOS Lock? Crock


I bought a new motherboard, processor, and memory online and put it in a case. I was installing my original copy of Windows XP Pro and before the installation completed my motherboard just locked up. My power supply fan stayed on, and my hard drive LED stayed lit, but my power light was off and nothing would happen.

I exchanged the board for a duplicate.

I installed Windows XP Pro and it ran for almost a whole day, but then the same thing happened. I called the store and talked to tech support and was told that I must have a limited copy of XP Pro that will only work with components that were out around the time the OS disc was made, and because I tried to use it with more modern hardware, Windows put a BIOS lock on my mobo. I’d never heard of such a thing, and the only thing I can find online regarding “BIOS lock” is how to set up a password in the BIOS. Is this technician feeding me a line of bull?

—Lee Byrd

The tech is feeding you a big bowl of malarkey. Windows XP does not place any BIOS lock on the hardware. What can happen is that Windows XP Pro will refuse to activate because OEM copies of the OS technically die with the motherboard. So, if you bought an OEM copy of XP for $120 four years ago and now try to reinstall it, Microsoft could say, “Go buy another copy of the OS.” Boxed retail copies, however, may be reinstalled till your face turns blue. You likely have a hardware issue such as bad RAM, a bad motherboard, or even a bad CPU.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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