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CRASHED! A topic for SEVERE and immediate Hardware and Operating System FAILURES. We will try to get you up again. NOT for Optimization questions!


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Old 7th April, 2011, 10:44 PM
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HDD Lock

Hi all. I have a question. I am working on a Toshiba laptop that had OJ spilled into it. What a mess. I have it running but it had a bios password. The owner could not seem to get me the correct password. I found the jumper to reset/remove the bios password. Unfortunately when I did this it caused a password to be set to lock the HDD. Apparently this has happened before according to the net. The drive stores a password on a chip on the board of the HDD to prevent data theft in case of laptop theft. So now to the question. Anyone know how to get past this. The owner did not set a password. So he does not know it. If I cannot get past this he will lose his data and need a new HDD.

Thanks guys.
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Old 8th April, 2011, 12:14 AM
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Have you tried removing the hdd and connecting it to a desktop? I don't know where the pass is stored but if its on the hdd electronics then in case you can find another hdd swap the electronics? Otherwise I think you will not be able to use that hdd anymore. From what I heard that is a serious bad ass protection. Aedan or Kaitain must know more about this.
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Old 8th April, 2011, 01:24 AM
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Yes I did and I cannot access the drive. It will not let me initialize it at all. The password is supposedly stored in the eeprom.
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Old 8th April, 2011, 05:23 AM
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Resetting the BIOS password would not 'cause a password to be set to lock the HDD'. More likely, your buddy who couldn't remember his BIOS password doesn't remember setting a HDD password in the BIOS (or maybe the lappy was delivered from the factory with a password on the HDD, though that seems rather unlikely. Perhaps it was a used lappy that already had a HDD password set?).

Setting an HDD password in the BIOS will cause drives that support that feature to encrypt the data on the drive, using a key derived from that password. By resetting the BIOS, you've erased the information that was stored which enabled the decryption of the drive, which means that you are pretty much SOL.
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Old 8th April, 2011, 03:59 PM
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Not much left to do huh? IT'S FRIDAY SO IT'S SPAM TIME !!! :ROLLING:

BTW when u fixing the events section Gizmo? :nerd:
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Old 8th April, 2011, 08:28 PM
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Eep. Does this mean that the password in EEPROM will block access to a new HDD? Hope not!
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Old 8th April, 2011, 09:59 PM
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Not to a new HDD, George. It requires an explicit action on the part of the person using the drive to enable the password.
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Old 9th April, 2011, 12:16 AM
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I threw another drive in there and it loaded up fine. It is definitely stored on the eeprom on the drive. I figured as much. I have seen a few cracker programs out there. They will wipe the drive though. I guess that is still better than tossing it in the trash. I thought about doing the platter swap or even a board swap from another drive to see if I can recover his data. Maybe if I feel adventurous this weekend.
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Old 9th April, 2011, 03:48 AM
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Swapping the board won't help. The data on the PLATTER are encrypted. The only way to get them back is with the key stored in the drive's EEPROM, and the only way to get that key is with the password that was stored in the computer's BIOS.
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Old 9th April, 2011, 04:31 AM
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Any way to get this formatted and at least save the drive?
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Old 9th April, 2011, 06:10 PM
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As I've not experimented extensively with these drives myself, I can't give you specific direction, but it's my understanding that if you go to the drive manufacturer's site, they should be able to help you out.

If you simply stick it in another Windows box, will Windows find it when you boot up? In principle, all you need to do is send the drive the 'secure erase' command.

Last edited by Gizmo; 9th April, 2011 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 9th April, 2011, 07:40 PM
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The drive manager sees it but will not initialize it at all. It does not show up in explorer. I tried a data recovery program. I have used it even when I have mistakenly formatted a drive and managed to recover almost all the data. The recovery program does not see the drive either.
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Old 9th April, 2011, 11:49 PM
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Exclamation

The pass protection is ment to protect the data on the drive no mater what and at all costs. Me thinks that you will not be able to use that drive unless you get the pass or swap its elecronics. Otherwise it's a throw it in the bin piece of hardware! No kidding.
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Old 10th April, 2011, 08:07 AM
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There are several good formatting programs that boot from a floppy in order to have exclusive drive access at low-level. I don't remember the names offhand but I'm sure if you did a search for "low-level format and floppy boot" you'd come up with one. I wonder if they would be able to see it.


EDIT:
I remembered where I got one of those progs in the past. It's a website called hddguru.com, and the diagnostic/formatting utility is called MHDD. Try that, Sam. I'm pretty sure you could also run it from a bootable CD as well.
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Old 10th April, 2011, 01:36 PM
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Thanks Bob. I will give that a try and I will make sure to let you know how it comes out. I did dig up a FDD the other day and got it hooked up. Some of these programs create a floppy and that is all they know.
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Old 10th April, 2011, 04:17 PM
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I have found the page for you; there are both floppy and CD images there, so you can boot whichever way it is easier:

HDDGURU: MHDD
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Old 10th April, 2011, 09:05 PM
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Wowsa, thanks Thunder man! Best of luck with this reluctant HDD, Samuknow!
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Old 11th April, 2011, 10:28 AM
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Who makes the drive? Many drives have a diagnostic interface (AKA a serial port ) on them. Sometimes the command set is known, permitting you to erase the password. However, sometimes the command set is not known, leaving you out of luck.

In my experience, a number of laptops can be configured so the BIOS password and HDD password are the same. The outcome of this is that when you enter the correct BIOS password, it's also reused by the BIOS to see if it can unlock the HDD. Thus the password is likely to be the same password that was used the lock the BIOS.

From memory, most hard disks store the password on the Host Protected Area (HPA) of the disk itself - that's the same place as the main firmware for the drive is stored. This way, changing the drive electronics will NOT unlock the drive.

If the drive is a Western Digital, then someone's spend some time working out the manufacturer commands to interrogate the HPA area of the drive, and thus extract the password (See elettrofreak: Estrarre le password ATA da un Hard Disk). If the drive is a Seagate drive, you may be able to use the serial port to erase the password (depending on the command set understood).

Most of the drives that support the ATA Password command set don't encrypt, which means the worst case is you send the drive for data recovery. However, some of the Seagate Momentus drives use AES encryption, and the password is used to unlock the AES key used to encrypt the drive - in this case, I'm not aware of any way to retreive the data, as a) the serial port is locked and b) the data is stored encrypted with a key that is inaccessible.
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Old 11th April, 2011, 10:46 PM
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It is a Toshiba. I am going to take a little time tonight to try again. At this point if I can salvage the drive it will be great. Thanks guys and I will let you know how it comes out.
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Old 13th April, 2011, 02:46 AM
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Hi Sam, had that problem with an HP lappy with 2X120G Seagate hdd. the boot loader was corrupted and refused all attempts to repair/replace it.

when I tried to run the SeaTools boot CD, the system would lock-down. HP support was not gonna help me find a way in.
however, the tech let me know that the hdd could be cleared with fdisk then reinstall the os. Yes, it worked, on both drives.
HP laptop back to 100% after dumping Vista.
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