Usual way to clear password is to remove the CMOS battery for a few minutes, though don't know if that is an easy job with a laptop. There are other ways to try, do a google for: manufacturer backdoor bios password
Be careful, I believe some bios's will lock you out of the system completely if you type in an incorrect password more than 3 times. That's why taking out CMOS battery is safest way.
Fruit Bat - I removed main battery for over 15 mins, and then re-inserted.
There was a high-pitched sound which stopped when I pressed on the power button. I still get the password prompt, but everything loads as normal...it boots up XP when I hit the 'ESC' key as suggested at the Bios entry password stage.
Lotvic - opening up the laptop is not on my todo list. :o) but I will follow up your suggestions.