password on a hard drive?

Discussion in 'Storage Devices' started by Steve Burns, Dec 15, 2003.

  1. Steve Burns

    Steve Burns Guest

    a friend bought a used Dell laptop last week, but when she started it up
    she got a message that says the ahrd drive has password protection on
    it. she cannot get past that message to do anyting with the drive or
    the computer. If it were an ordinary desktop drive I could just
    configure it as a slave and (hopefully) format it. Can that be done
    with a laptop drive? If so, how do I make it a slave, and how do I
    connect it to the laptop? Is there some other way to get rid of the
    password? thanks,
    Steve Burns, Dec 15, 2003
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  2. Steve Burns

    Louis Bybee Guest

    Short of getting the password from the previous owner you might be hosed.

    I have been researching this issue after an experience with a friend, and my
    Laptop. What I've discovered is that if the Laptop writes the password to
    the hard drive, and stores it in non-volatile ram in the Laptop Motherboard,
    you either obtain the correct password, or the Laptop is useless. If the
    Laptop is one that writes the password only to the drive, you can replace
    the drive, and be in business again. As to the password protected hard
    drive, there are two possible password protection configurations, Master &
    User. Most likely the Laptop sets the user password. Some also allow setting
    the Master also. Either way the average user wont be able to access the
    drive unless the password is known. I have confirmed that the data recovery
    services can bypass the hard drive password protection on a hard drive (I
    haven't discovered how yet), but it can be rather expensive.

    I have confirmed that the password is written to the hard drive firmware,
    and unavailable to the average user, but there is some indication that the
    password is also written to the platter (I haven't confirmed that one way or
    the other).

    You will be unable to format, or access the drive in the Laptop, or a
    desktop, as a slave or master without special software. In most Laptops you
    would be prompted for the password. In the desktop the drive would be
    reported as a failed drive.

    Your best bet is to try a new hard drive in the Laptop to see if it will
    operate, or obtain the password from the previous owner.

    Louis Bybee, Dec 16, 2003
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  3. Steve Burns

    Rod Speed Guest

    Depends on whether the drive has been
    set on the drive itself, or just the laptop.

    The format ATA standard drive password is very secure
    and stays with the drive even when moved between laptops.

    If the master password has not been changed, it
    can be used to erase the drive if its a drive password.
    Thats not the problem.
    You usually cant.

    You can get a cheap adapter that allows the drive
    to be plugged into a desktop as slave, but that wont
    fix the problem if the drive password has been set.
    One obvious approach is to ask the
    previous owner for the password.
    Rod Speed, Dec 16, 2003
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