Summary: Sparc 20 prom reset?

From: Herb Goodfellow, Jr. (
Date: Mon Nov 01 1999 - 15:09:10 CST

Thanks for all of your responses. I looked through them and decided to
try Michael
Maciolek's idea. He also pointed out my freudian spelling error.
Thanks you were correct :)

I also wanted to thank:
Adrian Stovall
Greg Polanski
Charles Smoko
Roger Fujii
Joeseph Chiu
Bill Herbert
Michael Pins
and everyone else who didn't flame me for the newbie question.


Michael Maciolek wrote:
> On Fri, 29 Oct 1999, Herb Goodfellow, Jr. wrote:
> >After surfing,, and some other Sun sites I am
> >left with asking you all what I hope is not a newbie question.
> >
> >I have to remove a prom password from a Sparcstation 20 that we are
> >savaging.
> ^^^^^^^^
> While I can understand how this may be a frustrating situation for you,
> brutal violence is not the answer.
> Oh. Wait. Perhaps you meant "salvaging"? :-)
> >We do not have root or a login on the box and can not boot it
> >from a CD to install a new OS w/out the boot prom password. So, we
> >tried removing the boot prom and we left it out for 10 minutes. No
> >luck. I have done this trick before to solve this problem on other
> >Sparcstations. Why won't it work here?
> For me, the question that is, "Why did it ever work before?" The NVRAM
> has its own built-in battery which can power the NVRAM's storage cell
> and TOD clock for *years*. Taking the NVRAM out of the computer does
> nothing to compromise the integrity of its contents, i.e. the stored
> security password. The state of the NVRAM should be the same after 10
> minutes outside of the computer as it was before being removed.
> Do you have any other Sun systems handy? (a Sparc 5 or another Sparc 20
> would be particularly convenient since they both use the same disk cradle)
> You could drop your Sparc 20's hard drive into the other machine, mount
> your drive's root partition, clear the root password in /etc/shadow, and
> then put the disk back and boot from it. Once you can login as root, you
> can execute the 'eeprom' command from the command line to clear the
> security password:
> eeprom 'security-mode=none'
> Another possibility is to buy, install and configure a new NVRAM. Read
> It explains the hardware, suggests sources, lists part numbers and gives
> full programming instructions for the NVRAM.
> Regards,
> Michael Maciolek
> Senior Consultant
> Exodus Communications/
> Cohesive Technology Solutions

Herb Goodfellow, Jr.
George Mason University
School of Information Technology and Engineering  MS 5C8
Fairfax, VA 22030-4444 USA
w) 703 993 3565 f) 703 993 1734 p) 888 755 1108
Opinions expressed are mine, and are not necessarily those of my

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