[insert arguing here]
My original question is what method does Dell use to provide password protection on this Inspiron 1501. Why is that considered asking for a password? If I asked where the CMOS is stored on a (you pick a name) motherboard, I bet someone could answer that. I am interested for a purely technical reason.
On laptops, typically the password is not stored in the CMOS (unlike most desktops). There is a separate security chip which stores this information and the details of that chip will vary from system board to system board.
The reason for this is if your password were stored in the "CMOS", a simple CMOS reset could erase the password. There is typically no way to reset a security chip, at least not without removing it from the system board and flashing it.
I put CMOS in quotes because in actuality, BIOS settings are stored in non-volatile memory... real "CMOS" memory isn't used any more.
That is the first reply that came close to addressing my original question. Thank you. Does anyone know what that integrated circuit is for the Inspiron 1501? I am looking for the JEDC or similar manufacturer's part number.