Here's a little story about a flaw in the BIOS password scheme, and a long delay in Dell's response.
Recently, I utilized the BIOS password on my Dell Mini 9 (because I couldn't Truecrypt the entire drive with a dual boot Win7/Ubuntu install - but that's another story).
I used a Master password and a user password. They were the same, and it was "KL:" (no quotes, natch). Basically the shifted keys just to the left of the enter key on the Mini 9 keyboard (US layout).
When I attempted to log in - it would not accept the password(s). I tried every thing I could think of along the lines of keyboard mapping and what it possibly could have interpreted the colon as (figured it could handle the K and the L). I've used that sequence before many many times - it was my Truecrypt password on the same machine for a year. Searched high and low on the internets, too - and found this BIOS password thing is a fairly common issue (I won't say problem, because there are legitimate times when you shouldn't be able to get past the BIOS password, like when it isn't your machine).
But hey, I'm the actual original owner, so I called Dell Technical Support. This was on a Friday. I just now, Tuesday afternoon, was able to log back into my machine using the master password (a code generated with a program based on my machine's service tag - that's how it's often done these days).
The thing is, the normal tech support folks don't have access to this program (security reasons, most likely). A group called the "PNP Team" has it, and they don't work weekends. As it turned out, they didn't work Monday, either. Four days... I had a backup of the data but it was still a nuisance.
I had Tweeted my situation during the weekend, and a Dell rep was trolling and was nice enough to try and help - but he didn't have the software tools either and suggested I do the "remove the CMOS battery" trick. Don't know what you know about that process, but it involves taking apart most of the Mini - and, I'm not sure it would have worked anyway.
So, I could suggest to folks with a Mini 9 (or any Dell machine, for that matter) that they consider getting that Master Password before they need it (one might feign a lockout, for example) - because it could take *days*.
Whatever the reason, you might be inclined to be prepared now, especially if you have a warranty close to expiration.
Thought I'd pass my experience along to like-minded folks.
thanks for reading my rambling.