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  Password protected Hard drive 
 
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Mark Brown Nov 07, 2004, 05:18pm EST Report Abuse
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Hey guys, recentely I bought a Dell laptop from ebay, the laptop has a hard drive that is asking for a password right in the beginning after it boots up (not when the os boots up). I think the password is being stored on the software part of the hard drive and not on one of the sectors witch seems to make it harder to figure out how to get rid of the protection. The hard drive is an IBM Travelstar Model DJSA-220. I cant get a hold of the seller and I am stuck with a computer that I cant do anything on. Let me know if you guys have any good ideas. Thanks in advance.

Mark

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Kevin Bryant Nov 07, 2004, 05:55pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
I have never heard of a PC being password protected from the hard drive, but that doesn't mean it cant happen. You probably have a bios password, which are relatively easy to remove. Just take out the battery (main) , then flip the laptop over and look for some sort of door or panel. Remove this panel, and underneath there should be a little battery. Take this out too, and leave it for about half an hour. If you can't find the panel, look the model number up on google to find out how to take it apart.

Good luck

Athlon 64 3200+ (Newcastle)
Asus K8NE-Deluxe
1.5 GB PC3200
Audigy 2 ZS
ATI Radeon X800XL
2x Samsung 80 GB
1x Seagate 250 GB
Chris McNally Nov 07, 2004, 06:08pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
Hope you do have an easily accessable CMOS battery. If you don't then set aside an afternoon to take apart the laptop, and be prepared to have a few screws left over when you rebuild it ;)

Regards,

Chris McNally

Moderator - Hardware Analysis
E-mail: chris@hardwareanalysis.com
Mark Brown Nov 07, 2004, 06:12pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
Dony worry guys I am not one of those people who dont know what a BIOS password is. I know exactly what you guys are talking about, but no thats not it. LIke I said the password is on the hard drive the computer itself is fine. Let me know if you have any other ideas.

Mark

Chris McNally Nov 07, 2004, 06:22pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
I've never heard of a password protected HD either-I can't imagine that the software to administer it would be loaded outside of the Bios and before the OS loads. What makes you think it's not a Bios password?

Assuming that you're right, the only thing I could think of to possibly work round it would be to run fixmbr from a bootdisk.

Regards,

Chris McNally

Moderator - Hardware Analysis
E-mail: chris@hardwareanalysis.com
Mark Brown Nov 07, 2004, 06:36pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
I take the hd out it dosnt ask for the pass anymore. I am able to boot from another devicies sutch as a floppy. Now if you have any other ideas how I could recover the password for the Hard drive I would greatly appreciate it

Eric Atkinson Nov 08, 2004, 10:04pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
The password may be from a software that come with the laptop's system management software.
If you don't need the data etc on the harddisk, then boot from a floppy and reformat the hard disk.

Ta

Doing a job RIGHT the first time gets the job done. Doing the job WRONG 14 times gives you job security.
Mark Brown Nov 08, 2004, 11:31pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
if you want to find out the answer to my question please check out the http://experts-exchange.com
the thread name is the same and it has been posted under Storege.

Mark

Steve Vickers Nov 09, 2004, 10:11pm EST Report Abuse
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Edited: Nov 09, 2004, 10:15pm EST

 
>> Re: Password protected Hard drive

Asus A8N32-SLI DELUXE MOBO w/AMD 64 4000+ CPU
(2)BFG 7800 GTX OC 256 DDR3 GPU PCI-E
4 Gigs Corsair CMX1024-3500LLPRO
160 Gig Maxtor Diamond SATA 7200 rpm
160 Gig Maxtor Diamond SATA 7200 rpm
2 Dell E193FP 19" LCD's
Memorex DVD/CD R/W
Memorex CD/RW
jerome arejola Nov 10, 2004, 05:11am EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
its in the cmos, hard drive data can be erased its volatile, only cmos where u can setup password prior to the load of os, u got ur laptop from eBay ryt? so i gues it does not contain the latest hd, coz i havent heard (cud not imagine) hard which is password protected

Daniel Liegey Nov 10, 2004, 12:44pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
The password is stored on the cmos. The reason you were able to boot without the drive is because the serial number of the hardd rive is stored in the Dell laptop and when it is found it will ask for the password. I've worked for Dell the only way to get rid of it is to call them. Let them know that you bought the laptop on eBay and that there is a password set on the hard drive. The only thing is if the computer is stolen and the service tag is flaged you may need to speak to a different department to explain what is going on.

Keith Schawel Nov 26, 2004, 03:23am EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
I am really enjoying reading some of these responses. "I have never heard of the password being on the hard drive" is classic. Don't answer then. I am replying to this because I am currently doing a search on google for the same problem and this site came up. You can have a hard drive password, it can also be called a hard drive lock. I see it most commonly in Thinkpads but it is also possible in Dells (others too, I'm sure). If you transfer the hard drive to another laptop, the password will come with. It is a problem that I have yet to solve, but if anyone else finds this page, they need to know this is possible. NO, IT IS NOT THE BIOS. Laptops can have two-fold security by putting a password on the bios AND the hard drive. See here for more details:
http://www.pwcrack.com/bios.shtml
I realize the url says BIOS, scroll to the bottom.

Mark Brown Nov 26, 2004, 01:52pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
This is called a ATA-password. Also known as a HDD Password, HDP, Security lock, HDD Security feature.
It is a standard included in the ATA Specification. (read the ata-spec)
If a drive is locked it (to be precise the controller on the harddrive pcb) will reject all read/write operations and some other operations (NOT ALL!!!).
Thus it is impossible to use any software-tools only to read/whipe the password.

Swapping the harddrive pcb with another identical one from a unlocked drive will NOT clear or bypass the lock since the password(s) are stored in the "system maintenance cylinder" (at cylinder address 16,384). On this cilinder are other important data stored like: track-layout information, calibration information, identification, serial and so forth.

The lock exists of 2 securitylevels: high and max. There are two passwords possible: User and Master. If the securitylevel is set to MAX only a userpassword can unlock the drive. If the securitylevel is set to high a user AND a master password can unlock the drive. The password can consist of 32 bits max by the way.

It IS possible to unlock the drive using extra hardware. This hardware can READ OUT the password in cleartext (as i understand). Visit http://www.vogon-forensic-hardware.co.uk/password-cracker-pod.php for proof. They are in fact NOT the only ones who have this kind of hardware. Untill now I still have'nt figuerd out how to do this (AND I'm willing to PAY for this info, contact me!!!).

There are however other way's:
1 Brute force the lock (if anyone has experience in direct access & int13h commands programming, please contact me)
2 hack firmware (the only security leak in my opinion)
3 in case of laptop: read out the password from the chip of the laptopmotherboard.
But you can only do this if the laptop is also still passwordprotected. Some *not to bright* people steal laptops and clear the passwordchip so the laptop boots, then to find out the harddrive is still passwordprotected (since poweron protecting your laptop often automatically locks your harddrive to, but as a user you do not notice this).
4 find someone in your region who can (there are people who can!!! Usually via option 2 so don't forget to mention your hdd-type)
5 buy the required hardware yourself: very expensive. Vogon charges 30.000 pound... And the new russian 3000 system is not yet translated and thus for sale (expected price around 10.000 USD).

So in your case this is a dead end; it is REALLY much more cheaper to simply buy another harddrive: you can use your new laptop fast and it saves you the headache ;-)

A professional company charges way over the price of a new one; finding someone reliable who can actually unlock your type of harddisk nearly impossible (and what will they charge?; the one I know charges from 25 euro upwards).
I know how to perform option 1 & 2 but lack the expertise=time to program it.

Last note: some people hope that the security erase function will unlock the drive. This is a irrational hope becouse this is a function to securily (and fast!!!) whipe the drive in 3 passes; that means whipe the userdata becouse if the maintenance cylinder is whiped then the trackinfo is whiped and thus the drive unusable... This aside from the fact that the drive must be unlocked before it will accept the command.

Can anyone please prove me wrong and help with another solution?


t j Nov 28, 2004, 03:36pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
Dell Latitude CPI D300XT_Hard Disk Drive Password(s)



I need help-------please. NOTE---this computer did not have a HDD password until I entered one and enabled it--- ALL Passwords in the System Security Section were all Disabled -- after i purchased the computer from a second party , Dell refuses to assist in resolving this issue- as the transfer of ownership "they claim" , was never received, even though i faxed all of the required documents to their Tag Team-----
--the prob resulted after running Registry Mechanic 3.0. ,forgive the repetition as i want to be as through as i can--thanks for all your time and responses------
My os win98se_yesterday, after running registry mechanic 3.0 and repairing the problem entries, i then rebooted my computer, using my keyboard on my laptop, i then depressed , Fn- F1 'Setup' then i depressed Alt-P and proceeded to System Security-Page 6 of 6- my Hard Disk Password(s) are Enabled and i wanted to Disable it , however , when i scrolled down to perform this, using my Down Arrow on my laptop (Fields) , i am not allowed access , usually the Value area Blinks and i am allowed access, the Primary Password (s) and Admin Password (s) are Disabled and Do blink and allow access (I should mention that i am the only person that uses this computer and am not connected to any network except when i surf the net) So , today i booted up and i entered into Setup again Fn-P ,when i use my up or down arrow (Fields) on Page 1 of 6 it proceeds across to Time: then i press again to Date: then i press again and arrive at Diskette Reconfig: Anytime -also, when i use my Across Arrow it changes the Value in the selected Field instead of going across. This happens only on Page 1, i still am unable to access the Hard Disk Password. Thanks to all replys. i tried to be as clear as i could......thanks_i meant to mention that i did try to restore the backup that Regisry Mechanic created to resolve the issue, no success-------

CJ Ryan Dec 16, 2004, 01:50pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
I've recently came upon the same issue. I gave a laptop to a college student who let someone dwonload LIMEWIRE. Her computer got hacked and I believe hte hacker put a password on the hard drive. When the system got part way through the boot, it called for HDD0 password. I though it was BIOS, but all password stuff was disabled. I removed the hard drive (it's a slide out one on an older Gateway 9100) and tried another hard drive I had and it booted just fine. I also tried the password locked HD on another computer and it asked for HDD0 password at same place in boot process. So it is DEFINITELY the hard drive itself that has been locked.
I'm convinced that the hack was through LIMEWIRE. I tried to take that program off manually, but the student took the computer back before I had a chance to do it. It is a royal pain...cannot be automatically removed.
I've sort of given up on this HDD, but I'd sure like to know if anyone has found anything that works. Oh, yes, when I hit enter a number of times, the password request goes away, but the hard drive won't be recognized.
CJ

CJ Ryan Dec 16, 2004, 01:50pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
I've recently came upon the same issue. I gave a laptop to a college student who let someone dwonload LIMEWIRE. Her computer got hacked and I believe hte hacker put a password on the hard drive. When the system got part way through the boot, it called for HDD0 password. I though it was BIOS, but all password stuff was disabled. I removed the hard drive (it's a slide out one on an older Gateway 9100) and tried another hard drive I had and it booted just fine. I also tried the password locked HD on another computer and it asked for HDD0 password at same place in boot process. So it is DEFINITELY the hard drive itself that has been locked.
I'm convinced that the hack was through LIMEWIRE. I tried to take that program off manually, but the student took the computer back before I had a chance to do it. It is a royal pain...cannot be automatically removed.
I've sort of given up on this HDD, but I'd sure like to know if anyone has found anything that works. Oh, yes, when I hit enter a number of times, the password request goes away, but the hard drive won't be recognized.
CJ

J Smith Dec 23, 2004, 01:58am EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive

Gordon Stevenson Dec 29, 2004, 01:58pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
Platter locked 2.5" ATA disks have been on the market for several years. Most modern laptops support
platter locking (IBM, HP, Dell, Toshiba etc.). Drives with SATA interfaces and certain new 3.5" disk drives also support this facility.

When platter locked the disk cannot be activated on the original system without the password. A platter locked disk will appear "dead" when attached to another system.

Our password removal system allows a user to remove a password in a very controlled manner which would
stand up under a possible court examination. It is part of our Forensic Imaging System.

Our systems are primarily aimed at law enforcement and have been in use in various law enforcement sites around the world for about 3 years.

The guess at our selling price is very significantly higher than the current price. In fact based on the price you
suggest from the Russian developers we are also cheaper than them. We do restrict who we supply this hardware to. The password cracking hardware is provided with upgrades downloadable from our Web site
by registered users - http://www.vogon-forensic-hardware.com.

For one off purposes our offices offer this as a service provided the requestor can demonstrate that they own the drive concerned.

The techniques used varies between different manufacturer's drives and even between different firmware
revisions of the same drive model.

Gordon

Mohan Ramcharan Dec 30, 2004, 09:08pm EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
Just had over 90 IBM thinkpads in for overhaul from the police service...

IBM says that the password is built into a special controller chip ON THE LAPTOP and this chip has to be changed, or the board its on has to be changed.

Basically mate, you are looking at a new HD.

CJ Ryan Dec 31, 2004, 08:19am EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
A password was put ON the hard drive of one of my Gateway 9100's....I have several I use as loaners for clients. When I switch the password protected HD to another computer, it asks for HD password. Similarly, when I put another hard drive into the computer originally affected, it works just fine.
As I mentioned in a previous posting, the password is definitely ON the HD, not the computer. The password protection function is Disabled on both computers I did the testing on.
I did get a new hard drive, but it's a matter of intense curiosity for me to figure this out if I can.
My situation seems to be similar to the original posting on this issue. CJ

Darren Robertson Jan 06, 2005, 05:02am EST Report Abuse
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>> Re: Password protected Hard drive
It is also a great money maker for the Hard drive manufacturers.

Disgruntled employees love it too, just set the hdd password when you leave and lock your boss out of your laptop files. Then they have to buy a new laptop hdd.

I have about 30 platter locked drives from companies that either have nasty employees or dumb sys admins.

On my USB 2.0 external case for laptop drives they appear as a mass stroage device with no storage available, I can't see them or back them up.

I would love a tool that accessed these drives via the USB case.


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