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HP SpareKey (F7)
This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with the HP Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) beginning in late-2008.
To access the HP SpareKey, turn on the computer and immediately press the esc key to display the Startup Menu, and then press the F7 key. HP SpareKey is not available on all models. This option is available on selected models only.
What is HP SpareKey?
HP SpareKey is a utility that helps you, or the administrator of the computer, recover lost system passwords, such as the power-on, drive lock, or BIOS passwords. When setting up the SpareKey, you are prompted to provide answers for a sequence of three predetermined personal identification questions.
The HP SpareKey uses these questions to identify you if you need to reset the passwords. Examples of the personal identification questions presented by HP SpareKey are listed below.
  • What is your mother's maiden name?
  • What was the name of your first pet?
  • What is your father's middle name?
It is very important to write down the answers to these questions and put them in a safe place, away from the computer, so that you can always access them.
For example, if you cannot remember the password to access the BIOS on your computer, the HP SpareKey wizard pops up and prompts you for the answers to the three personal identification questions. If you successfully answer the questions, you are granted access and you can reset the password. You have three chances to answer the questions correctly. If you do not answer the questions correctly in the three attempts that you are given, you will be locked out of your computer, and then you must contact HP for assistance.
HP SpareKey cannot help you recover a Windows 7 or Vista administrator account password. It is intended solely to recover system-level passwords.
The HP SpareKey is extremely beneficial in a corporate environment because it eliminates the need to call IT support when passwords are forgotten. Additionally, with the SpareKey, the administrator can always recover passwords.
See also
Return to HP Notebook PCs - HP Startup Menu Overview for additional topics.