[Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board Sale
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Author:  cakalapati [ Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:50 pm ]
Post subject:  [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board Sale

Status: Service is Closed.
Like all good things, they must come to an end. Effective 4/13/2017 (almost 9 years running), the service is closed indefinitely. Thank you to all my customers and friends who purchased a debug adapter and stood by me over the years. I really enjoyed helping everyone out. I will still be checking in on this forum every now and then so feel free to leave questions/responses below. I'm leaving this posting mostly untouched for historic reasons. Thank you all for the great memories.

I am running a small and humble service to all of my HP MediaSmart Server comrades who wish to have a VGA/PS2 Keyboard/PS2 Mouse/Serial debug board and would rather buy (and not build) the board.

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Why should you buy a debug board?
-- You want to play with the BIOS settings or re-flash your BIOS
-- You want to boot from a USB stick to install another OS (Windows Home Server 2011, Ubuntu/Debian Linux, Windows Server 2012, OpenSolaris)
-- You are a software/kernel/addons developer
-- You want to tinker but not risk shorting your MediaSmart Server
-- You don't have the time to build your own custom cable
-- You don't want to buy expensive tools for a one time project
-- You want the ability to troubleshoot any bootup problems without running a recovery that will destroy existing data
-- Buying is cheaper than building!

What others are saying about my debug board.
I have been building the debug boards/cables for this community since May of 2007 and I have had many happy customers.

"Fortunately, there's a debug board you can buy to retrofit a VGA-less server, so you can install Windows Server 2012, Ubuntu, or whatever you want." - J. Peter Bruzzese, InforWorld

"The debug board is very well constructed and has a high quality look and feel which gave me no concerns or worries about connecting it up to my HP server." - Steve Crick, mswhs

"With this cable, I can see the boot sequence, enter the BIOS setup screen, install new OS to the hardware if I want" -

"[VOV Technology] sells a cable that plugs into this header with PS/2 ports to connect a mouse and keyboard, as well as a VGA monitor" - Ed Tittel, Tom's Hardware

"It’s completely worth it. Being able to change boot devices, change fan settings and connect a monitor if something goes wrong – it’s just absolutely essential." - Bjørn Froberg, IT Supporter

Plus the countless comments from the members of the community.

What is the difference between this generation and previous generations (Gen1, Gen2, Gen3)?
- The debug board is 30% smaller than Gen2/3 boards, making it fit easily inside the HP MediaSmart Server machine.
- The debug board and faceplates are now black and use a lasered finish, making it look amazing (blending nicely with the black MediaSmart Server finish).
- VGA lines have ESD Protection, Level Shifting, and RGB Termination meeting IEC-61000-4-2 Level-4 ESD Requirements.
- PS2 Keyboard and PS2 Mouse implements a low pass filter to limit EMI levels and provide ESD protection meeting IEC 61000-4-2 Level-4 ESD Requirements.

The Gen4 debug board has full support for the latest HP MediaSmart Server hardware. We also added protection against electrostatic discharges (ESD) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) on the VGA and PS2 lines.

-- $95.00 USD for the VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse Assembly (The Most Popular Set) [Add To Cart]
-- $115.00 USD for the VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse + Serial Assembly (The Complete Set) [Add To Cart - SOLD OUT]
-- $40.00 USD for an Extra Black Cable (note: each assembly already includes one black cable) [Add To Cart - SOLD OUT]
-- Texas residents must add 8.25% sales tax to their order.

Shipping to USA:
-- Free shipping via USPS (3-10 business day delivery time, no insurance, no tracking number)
-- $8.00 USD via FedEx Ground (3-4 business day delivery time, insured with tracking number)
-- $21.00 USD via FedEx 2Day (2 business day delivery time, insured with tracking number)
-- $52.00 USD via FedEx Standard Overnight (1 business day delivery time, insured with tracking number)

Shipping to Canada:
-- Free shipping via USPS (5-20 business day delivery time, no insurance, no tracking number)
-- $28 USD via USPS Priority Mail International (4-8 business day delivery time, insured with tracking number)
-- $35 USD via FedEx International Ground (4-5 business day delivery time, insured with tracking number)

Shipping to Europe and All Other Places:
-- $28.00 USD via USPS Priority Mail International (4-8 business day delivery time, insured with tracking number)

Notes about Shipping (Please Read):
-- If shipping via FedEx, please do not specify a P.O. Box shipping address (this is not my wishes, but the courier's wishes).
-- FedEx rates are applicable to the lower 48 states.
-- About International Duties and Taxes: Typically items that are under one pound (16 ounces) and less than $100 in value are not charged duties and taxes. However, it is at the discretion of the customs officer who handles that particular package on that particular day. You (the buyer) are responsible to pay any duties or taxes that your country decides to charge (if any). If this is your first International order, please take the time to review your country's import laws and taxes before making the order (so there are no surprises). Some countries in Europe may charge approximately £10-£25 to import the cable. Please check with your country's import laws to determine the exact fees (if any). There may be shipping delays if the VAT fees are not paid.

-- The debug board kit consists of a printed circuit board (PCB) inside an enclosure with a black 26 terminal pass-through cable.
-- Black cable is 18 inches (45.72 centimeters) long and 0.5 inches (2.54 centimeters) thick.
-- The assembly ships 1-3 business days after payment is cleared.
-- All shipments are made from Austin, Texas, USA.
-- Payment is accepted from PayPal ( You don't need a PayPal account to pay.
-- You will be doing business with a company called VOV Technology.
-- Be sure you have read and understood the "Known Issues" section (below) before placing an order.
-- All sales are final. Items that arrive defective are replaced if reported within seven days of arrival. Customer pays the shipping for returned products. Replacement assembly is shipped when returned assembly is received (undamaged)--no cross shipping.

Hardware Compatibility:
-- HP MediaSmart Server EX-470 and EX-475
-- HP MediaSmart Server EX-485 and EX-487 *
-- HP MediaSmart Server EX-490 and EX-495 *
-- HP StorageWorks X510 DataVault *
-- Acer Aspire easyStore H340 *

Customer Tested Hardware Compatibility:
-- Acer Aspire easyStore H341 *
-- Acer Aspire easyStore H342 *
-- HP LX195 MediaSmart Server
-- HP LX197 MediaSmart Server *
-- HP DataVault X310, X311, X312 and X315
-- Lenovo Ideacentre D400 *

If you are interested in getting a Gen4 Debug Adapter you can either:

  1. Add your item to the cart (via the "Add to Cart" links above) and checkout
  2. Email "mss_cable_service<at>vovtech<dot>com" with:
    1. The board specifications (VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse or VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse + Serial) and price (as stated above).
    2. Your first and last name
    3. The address where the cable should be shipped***. If this is a business address, please include the name of the business.
    4. Your shipping preference and price (as stated above)
    5. Your phone number (couriers typically require the destination phone number)
    6. (OPTIONAL) Let me know your Windows Home Server box (i.e HP EX-485, Acer H340, other) or ask any question.
    7. (OPTIONAL) Tell me something funny/interesting about yourself that puts a face to this cable. :-)

* Requires a jumper to unlock the the PS2 keyboard and PS2 mouse capabilities. Instructions can be found here and here.
** If you already have a PayPal account, please send your cable request from the email address bound to your PayPal account.
*** Your shipping address must match your PayPal address (for security reasons and to qualify for PayPal's buyer/seller protection program). Your cable will, by default, ship to the address specified at the PayPal transaction.

Upon receiving your request, you will receive a PayPal invoice from VOV Technology. Your cable will ship one to two business days after your payment has cleared. You will receive an email alert that will confirm shipment (along with tracking info if applicable).

Thanks and happy MSS tweaking!

Status: Service is Closed.

File comment: An example of the complete set (VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse + Serial) assembly. The cable is 18 inches (46 cm), which is perfect for almost any installation.
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File comment: Some users prefer not to damage their HP MediaSmart Server, so they install their cable coming up the back of their box and out one of the spare hard drive bays. The assembly can sit comfortably in a closed drawer and that drawer can be opened when needed to troubleshoot problems.
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File comment: Some enthusiasts do not like the standard (included) enclosure and would rather go with a custom mounting option. The two holes in the printed circuit board give end-users the flexibility to mount the board however they wish.
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File comment: An example of the two assembly options. The VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse assembly is perfect for basic troubleshooting and for BIOS tweaking. The complete set (VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse + Serial) assembly is perfect for the kernel developer who wants to hack at the lower-level hardware, or perhaps the enthusiast who wishes to connect a RS232 weather station to their HP MediaSmart Server.
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File comment: The cable is only 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) thick, which accommodates several different mounting options.
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File comment: The debug adapter is made with the highest quality parts and looks fantastic beside your MediaSmart server.
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Author:  cakalapati [ Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can you describe the payment process?
A: Upon receiving your request (via email), I send you (via email) a PayPal invoice and that invoice has instructions (from PayPal) on how to pay the invoice. The invoice will have your requested debug board as a line-item, along with the shipping charge. You can pay with any major credit card, or a PayPal account (if you have one). After paying the invoice, I am notified of your payment. Your debug board typically ships 1-3 days after your payment clears. When your package ships, I send you an email to notify you that it shipped along with tracking info (if tracking is available).

Q: Do you need a PayPal account to buy a debug board? I don't want to create an account with PayPal.
A: You don't need a PayPal account, nor do you need to create one to pay for the debug board. Any major credit card will suffice. If you live outside the United States, PayPal will also handle the currency exchange rates.

Q: How long will it take before I have a debug board in my hand?
A: There are many factors that determine how long it takes for you to get a debug board. They vary from promptness of payment, shipping distance and customs clearance (for international orders). Typically, I try to send a PayPal invoice 1-2 days after receiving the email request for a board. Your board ships 1-3 days after your payment has cleared.

Q: Which debug board should I get?
A: I make no assumptions about your needs because everyone's needs are different. The VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse assembly is perfect for basic troubleshooting (like diagnosing boot-up problems or BIOS tweaking) and for BIOS tweaking and flashing. The complete set (VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse + Serial) assembly is perfect for the kernel developer who wants to hack at the lower-level hardware, or perhaps the enthusiast who wishes to connect a RS232 weather station to their HP MediaSmart Server.

Q: Which debug board do you recommend?
A: If you are unsure which debug board is right for you (see previous question), I recommend people get the VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse debug board. It provides a healthy balance between functionality and value.

Q: Why would anyone buy the debug board with the serial connection?
A: The answer really boils down to you and your needs. A serial connection on a headless computer is priceless when doing low-level hardware debugging. A serial connection to a UPS can be valuable in case of power failure. A serial connection may be important for the enthusiast who is logging temperature from a weather station (that only accepts a serial connection). Serial will never die because it is used in many embedded markets. With that said, the desktop market is moving away from serial is favor of faster protocols (like USB and Firewire). Unfortunately, those protocols require an intelligent (non-trivial) driver stack, which can be problematic in certain scenarios.

Q: I sent you an email but got no response. Are you offering the debug boards?
A: If this forum posting says that my service is open, then I am still offering the debug boards. I get a bunch of emails and I am usually very good at responding to them in one or two business days. However, if you have not heard from me in three days, then I either did not receive your email or it got lost among other emails. Sometimes spam filters re-route good emails so if you are emailing me from a foreign country, that may be an issue too. Simply resend your email and you should be fine. If your email will not go through, post it to the forum.

Q: I am an international customer and my debug board shipped via "Priority Mail International" (which includes insurance and tracking). Which courier service has my debug board after it leaves the United States?
A: The United States Post Service (USPS) has many affiliates around the world for mail. Here is a list of countries with their corresponding courier service which handles mail.

Q: What are the exact dimensions of the PCB?
A: 3.90 inches by 1.25 inches.

Q: Where did you get the 26 pin female to female cable extension?
A: The 26 pin female to female cable extension is build by a third party company using factory grade equipment. It results in a much higher quality cable, capable of undergoing a lot of stress.

Known Issues

--USB to PS2 adapters do NOT work. If you are ordering a debug board assembly that includes the PS2 connectors and you do not have a PS2 keyboard or a PS2 mouse, you may not be able to communicate to your MediaSmart Server via the PS2 ports. Workaround: Use a PS2 keyboard or a PS2 mouse on the PS2 ports. If you do not have one, use a USB keyboard or a USB mouse on the USB ports.

--Accessing the server via Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection without the debug board attached, users may be able to successfully SHUT DOWN and REBOOT the server. However, some users encountered errors when RESTARTING the server (e.g. after Windows Updates are applied)--the server hangs at some unidentified point during the restart procedure. (Note: With the the debug board attached, the unit restarts without incident - even without a connected keyboard or mouse). To get around this, try the following: with the debug board attached and peripherals connected, power on the HP MediaSmart Server. Press <DEL> repeatedly to enter the BIOS. Review the BIOS log. Do you see "Non functional keyboard" errors that correspond to the approximate times when the server was restarted as opposed to performing a complete shut down? If so, locate the BIOS setting 'Headless Mode' and change it from the default "Disabled" to "Enabled." Optionally, also locate the 'Quick Boot' setting and set it to "Enabled." These two options seem to replicate the "Do not halt on keyboard errors" function available in most BIOS configurations.

Author:  msawyer91 [ Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

As the owner of two previous generation VOV boards, Charles asked me if I would be willing to be a beta tester for the Gen4 board. I was happy to help out, and installed the Gen4 board on my newest addition--a used EX495 purchased from a fellow member.

I have the VGA+keyboard+mouse version, which is what I have on my other two servers as well. The Gen4 board, like its predecessors, is very professionally built; it looks great. As Charles points out, it's about a third smaller than previous generations. This wasn't ever a point of concern for me, but for folks who like to tuck the board inside the top drive bay, you'll be happy as it's a much easier fit.

Functionality - The board just works, plain and simple. This is why you buy the board, right? In my case, it's VGA, keyboard and mouse. And those three functions work perfectly 100% of the time. The video signal is always solid, never any distortion or video anomalies. I drive my MSS at 1280x1024, the maximum resolution supported by an old Dell LCD monitor. I've never tried a higher resolution, but I can't imagine the EX490 can go much higher. The keyboard and mouse are hooked up to an old IOGEAR 4-way KVM, and it still does a fantastic job. The mouse is always smooth and the keyboard is always responsive--no "missed" or "extra" keystrokes.

In total I've got three of these boards--actually four. Three (2 x Gen3 and 1 x Gen4) are in active use. The fourth came with the EX495 I just bought and is the VGA-only version.

Thank you Charles for continuing to support such a great server!


Author:  mbraeke1 [ Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S


I just installed the Gen4 cable in my HP EX495. I used the top hard disk drawer to host the adapter.
The cable, attached to the adapter is long enough to have the adapter sticking out some centimeters from the server.
While not using the adapter, I'd like to slide the drawer in and close the front panel door.

However - the cable is pretty stiff. And while I can probably force the drawer in and make the cable bend as much as needed, I believe it might put pressure on the connections.

The photo below shows the HP EX495 with the cable installed - not sure how this translates into English, but this photo shows the cable in relaxed position.
You can see the additional length of the cable and where the adapter is positioned.


The photo below shows what I'm concerned about: when I slide the drawer in, the cable will have to bend. The tiny connections into the plug that goes into the adapter will come under pressure.


Is there a trick to this ?


Author:  JRed1 [ Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

Received the Gen4 HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board a while back, and finally had the chance to complete the installation.

Very nice piece of kit, and installation was simple. Having previously replaced the power supply, disassembling the cabinet and accessing the motherboard was not an issue.

Reassembled the unit, attached the video cable to the debug board, plugged in a USB mouse and keyboard to the open slots on the back of the server. Powered up, accessed the bios, and changed the boot device order to Hard Drive [First device], USB controller [Second device] (from USB first, then HD). Powered down and up a couple of times and logged into the OS with no issues.

For now the debug board is placed in an empty bay, and will look at some options to mount it securely. May also tinker with updating the OS since the current is Windows Server 2003.

A very happy customer!

Thank you Charles!

Author:  Hans66 [ Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

Received my Gen 4 Cable this week, and connected to my EX495. I opted to make a slot in the rear pane adjacent to the USB ports. All works fine - now to get in there and find out what is killing my server !
Already wishing I'd bought a spare cable to attach to my 510 :S

Author:  mbraeke1 [ Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

Hey Hans66,

Do you have any photos you can share on that rear pane installation ? Sounds interesting as alternative for using one of the HDD bays.
It would also set the cable in a static position which is better then what I have at the moment...


Author:  cakalapati [ Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

"Just wanted to take the time and thank you for your great product. It gave me the ability to mod and tweak my HP MediaSmart Server . Here is the end result which I'm very pleased with...keep up the good work" - Wilson Feliciano (a happy customer)

Posted with his permission.

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Author:  Steveh [ Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

Having used the gen3 board for a while I took the offer of trying the gen4 board. As this is smaller then the gen3 I decided to fit it inside the chassis. It fits nicely and with the advantage of being able to remove the mother board easier as the cable is now long enough without having to uncouple the vga board. A big thanks to Charles for a brilliant product, worth every penny.

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Author:  scubacyclist [ Wed Aug 12, 2015 7:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

I have owned an EX485 since they were released, it was only until recent times that I needed to figure out why it was not working, blinking blue health light. Luckily I found this site and this post!

Thank you goes out to VOV Tech, Charles, for the [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board! The board worked like a charm, giving me access to watch the boot process, gain access to the BIOS, and was able to boot from a USB to run a memory test. It has been invaluable in trouble shooting my server.

The board and cables look professionally made and worked like they should. I would highly recommend this board to anyone doing trouble shooting or not.

Thank you for being a valuable resource for the media servers.


Author:  cakalapati [ Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

From the mailbag:

Thanks for the great quality of your cable, it works perfectly.
With the help of your cable, I've been able to backup my 2012 R2 essentials installation and then restore it to a smaller SSD that I had lying around.
On my HP EX470, since I'm using a SSD not screwed to the Disk carrier (it's simply pushed on the backplane), I'm able to have your cable hidden in the first disk carrier and still use the 3 others with mecanical HDD.
So your cable is always available (just have to open the disk carrier a little bit when needed), I did not have to drill anything and I'm still using the 4 disk carriers (one with an SSD). - Bertrand E (happy customer)

Thank you for those kind word Bertrand. Pictures and quote posted with his permission.

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Author:  riford [ Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

I had an old HP Storageworks x510 sitting here at work that I wanted to get some serious use out of other than a dust collector. I googled for quite awhile on how I might go about installing a linux-based operating system on it to turn it into a NAS and finally I came across this thread. I immediately filled out the proper paperwork with my boss and waiting anxiously to get the approval.

After all was well and the approval was signed I had the part ordered. I paid for the quick-shipping option and it arrived with no issues. I ripped the box open, stared at the part, and looked at the x510 as if I were arranging a marriage for my daughter.

I busted open the screwdriver set and ripped my x510 apart, digging anxiously through all of the wires and hard drives. Finally the motherboard was out and the part was plugged in. I'm wanting to run 4x4TB WD Reds in this thing, so I opted to not install the board in one of the hard drive slots, and instead, routed it up behind the hard drives and through the top of the x510. Right now that "hat" hasn't been placed back onto the x510 and I've got the cable just laying on top, but I do need to do some sort of cleanup and modify the "hat" a little so that I can probably keep the debug board out and mounted to the back of the device.

I got all of the pieces put back together, and lo-and-behold my 4x4TB WD Reds came in yesterday. After getting those installed, I powered the x510 on and felt as if I were bringing Frankenstein back to life as my screen came to life and my Ubuntu Server install USB showed up.

I'm in the process right now of raiding these fellows together in a Raid 10 setup. Everything is going well so far.

I got the order placed yesterday for my Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q9550 2.83GHz to replace the processor it came with as well as my Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB memory. This is going to be one bad little beast when I get those two parts in.

All thanks to Charles at VOV for answering every question I had, sending me video instructions, and anything else I asked for. He was a charm and a delight to deal with and if he ever puts anything together in the future that I need, I'll be sure he's the first one I go to. The sale was quick, the part looks, feels and acts INCREDIBLY sturdy (as long as I can get it mounted, I doubt I'm going to have issues form this thing for YEARS). More than well worth the $100 spent (for the part and shipping).

Author:  justintimeav [ Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

Would this adapter cord work with HP Media Smart Server Model Number GG796AA?

The reason for the question is that I have a customer who owns one of these devices but is unable to remember the password and I would like to be able to use some sort of Windows Password Recovery boot disc in order to get into the machine. Is this something that is possible?

Thanks in advance for any info you can provide.

Author:  msawyer91 [ Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

If the server is a MediaSmart EX470, 475, 480, 487, 490 or 495, then the answer is a definite YES. The model number given is the MediaSmart EX475 so yes, this cable would give you video capabilities. If you go with the PS/2 option, keyboard and mouse as well. Of course you can get a video only and use a USB keyboard/mouse.

Author:  justintimeav [ Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Gen4] HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Debug Board S

Sorry if I sound stupid on the subject.
But if I did the video only one would I just plug my usb keyboard and mouse into the usb jacks on the back panel??

And from what your telling me I could set the bios to boot from usb windows password recovery disk, so that I can change the password and regain access into the machine?

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