Login Join Maker Pro
Or sign in with

# Help: Locked Hard Drive

L

#### Louis Bybee

Jan 1, 1970
0
A friend? of mine locked the Hard Drive in my Laptop (it was his way of
"sticking it to me", and so far it's worked very well). As the boot process
begins it stops, and asks for the password. The boot sequence is set for
floppy first, but even trying to boot with a floppy wont allow progress past
the password prompt.

So far I've tried to boot to a floppy - no success - with the thought of a
Low Level Format. I've placed the drive, with an adapter, into a desktop,
and I discovered that BIOSs without a password scheme like a Laptop, reports
the drive as a "failed disk". If I place it into another Laptop it asks for
the password. I locked a different drive, placed it into the desktop, and it
reported as a "failed disk". I put it back into the Laptop, unlocked it, and
back into the desktop where it worked normally.

Further research led me to the Hard Disk ATA Standard, which allows for a
Hard Drive to be locked, and unlocked. It appears that the passwords (user,
and master) are not on the platter, but stored in a register on the
controller board. The logic sequence on boot up is to check if the drive is
locked, and if it is it wont unlock the drive until the proper command, then
the password is sent to the drive.

The ATA Standard also indicates that if you know the Master Password, it
will unlock the drive, and reset the user password to null.

I understand the need for security, but I can't help but suspect that some
clever chap has discovered a workaround short of sending the drive to a data
recovery facility, and spending thousands of $$. There has to be a way of probing the register in question, and reading the data necessary to unlock the drive. I can buy a new drive for my Laptop, but I guess the challenge of overcomingmthe situation is too much to pass up. Any suggestions, Web Sites, other news groups, or assistance would be appreciated!! Thank you. Louis-- ********************************************* Remove the two fish in address to respond L #### Louis Bybee Jan 1, 1970 0 Paul Hovnanian P.E. said: If there is one password prompt before either a floppy or hard drive boot, it sounds like your 'friend' has set the BIOS password. I haven't spent too much time fiddling with laptops, but on most PC motherboards, there is a jumper that, when temporarily closed (or opened) resets the BIOS configuration settings (including passwords). Find some technical documentation on your laptop and see if this is the case. If you clear the BIOS, be prepared to go in and reconfigure all the settings. And (as others have suggested), put in a password yourself this time. The Laptop I have has the option to password protect the BIOS, and the Hard Drive. In this case just the drive has the password set as it causes a "drive fault" error when placed in a desktop. Another drive placed in the Laptop allows the unit to function normally. The BIOS password I could deal with, but the drive password has me stumped! I just can't believe it's a dead end. I just haven't discovered the path yet! :-] I have made appropriate arrangements to "reward" this so called friend of mine. I suppose it's childish, but it sure felt good! ;-] Thank you. Louis-- ********************************************* Remove the two fish in address to respond #### @ . Jan 1, 1970 0 Louis Bybee said: A friend? of mine locked the Hard Drive in my Laptop (it was his way of "sticking it to me", and so far it's worked very well). Either that or you stole a laptop and are asking us how to unlock it... Try here: http://rockbox.haxx.se/lock.html L #### Louis Bybee Jan 1, 1970 0 Either that or you stole a laptop and are asking us how to unlock it... Try here: http://rockbox.haxx.se/lock.html Thank you for the reassuring evaluation of my ethics base. :-] If the Laptop were stolen I can't imagine posting with a traceable EMAIL address? The Laptop is functional with a different Hard Drive (I am currently using the unit). The value of the locked Hard Drive isn't worth the effort. It's the frustration of not having access to the Hard Drive, and the opportunity to learn something that is driving me at this point. Thank you for the link. It has more information regarding the issue than I have found so far! Any other constructive ideas, or suggestions, appreciated! Thank you. Louis-- ********************************************* Remove the two fish in address to respond P #### pkh Jan 1, 1970 0 If I remember correctly, I had a desktop or tower PC with a password in BIOS, and there was actually a mother board jumper that enabled you to disable or reset the password. Maybe your laptop has the same feature on the motherboard?? Regards, Paul J #### Jerry G. Jan 1, 1970 0 Normally with laptop computers, you have to take the machine to the authorized service centre. You will require personal identification, and most likely the bill of purchase. They can unlock the machine for you. The authorized reps should have the manufacture utilities to zero the password. There is normally a charge of about 50 or so. There are many users who forget their passwords for programs, and complete machines. You then can give the bill to the person who did this to you, by registered letter. In the letter you tell him that if he does not pay, you will be submitting this bill for legal collection. Since this is a laptop, password the machine, and never give it to anyone! Make sure you don't forget it. -- Greetings, Jerry Greenberg GLG Technologies GLG ========================================= WebPage http://www.zoom-one.com Electronics http://www.zoom-one.com/electron.htm ========================================= A friend? of mine locked the Hard Drive in my Laptop (it was his way of "sticking it to me", and so far it's worked very well). As the boot process begins it stops, and asks for the password. The boot sequence is set for floppy first, but even trying to boot with a floppy wont allow progress past the password prompt. So far I've tried to boot to a floppy - no success - with the thought of a Low Level Format. I've placed the drive, with an adapter, into a desktop, and I discovered that BIOSs without a password scheme like a Laptop, reports the drive as a "failed disk". If I place it into another Laptop it asks for the password. I locked a different drive, placed it into the desktop, and it reported as a "failed disk". I put it back into the Laptop, unlocked it, and back into the desktop where it worked normally. Further research led me to the Hard Disk ATA Standard, which allows for a Hard Drive to be locked, and unlocked. It appears that the passwords (user, and master) are not on the platter, but stored in a register on the controller board. The logic sequence on boot up is to check if the drive is locked, and if it is it wont unlock the drive until the proper command, then the password is sent to the drive. The ATA Standard also indicates that if you know the Master Password, it will unlock the drive, and reset the user password to null. I understand the need for security, but I can't help but suspect that some clever chap has discovered a workaround short of sending the drive to a data recovery facility, and spending thousands of$$$. There has to be a way of probing the register in question, and reading the data necessary to unlock the drive. I can buy a new drive for my Laptop, but I guess the challenge of overcomingmthe situation is too much to pass up. Any suggestions, Web Sites, other news groups, or assistance would be appreciated!! Thank you. Louis-- ********************************************* Remove the two fish in address to respond L #### Louis Bybee Jan 1, 1970 0 Jerry G. said: Normally with laptop computers, you have to take the machine to the authorized service centre. You will require personal identification, and most likely the bill of purchase. They can unlock the machine for you. The authorized reps should have the manufacture utilities to zero the password. There is normally a charge of about$50 or so. There are many users who
forget their passwords for programs, and complete machines.

The machine in question is an older IBM Thinkpad Laptop. I am currently
using it with a new Hard Drive. The old drive is locked (he locked the drive
only), and taht's what I'm trying to get into. The drive itsself isn't worth
any time or expense, but I am determined to learn how to gain access to it.
IBM at their Web Site, and the local service center, indicated there is
nothing they could do for me.

I am convinced that accessing my drive is possable if I get the proper
information. I have received a few suggestions that make me believe I'm well
on the way to success!

You then can give the bill to the person who did this to you, by registered
letter. In the letter you tell him that if he does not pay, you will be
submitting this bill for legal collection.

In a normal situation your advice is spot on, but there is a family
connection here, and I would catch it from his mother. I have extracted
satisfaction in an anonomous fashion. ;-]

Since this is a laptop, password the machine, and never give it to anyone!
Make sure you don't forget it.

Exactly what I did as soon as the new drive was installed.

Thank you.

Louis--*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

L

#### Louis Bybee

Jan 1, 1970
0
No, and it was the drive that was locked. A new drive allowed me to use the
computer.

I am now trying to gain access to the Hard Drive.

Thank you.

Louis--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

J

#### JJ

Jan 1, 1970
0
Have you tried putting it back into the laptop with the new drive and
setting it to slave. Since it will not boot as slave you may be able to
retrieve info and reformat it.

Louis Bybee said:
Jerry G. said:
Normally with laptop computers, you have to take the machine to the
authorized service centre. You will require personal identification, and
most likely the bill of purchase. They can unlock the machine for you. The
authorized reps should have the manufacture utilities to zero the password.
There is normally a charge of about $50 or so. There are many users who forget their passwords for programs, and complete machines. The machine in question is an older IBM Thinkpad Laptop. I am currently using it with a new Hard Drive. The old drive is locked (he locked the drive only), and taht's what I'm trying to get into. The drive itsself isn't worth any time or expense, but I am determined to learn how to gain access to it. IBM at their Web Site, and the local service center, indicated there is nothing they could do for me. I am convinced that accessing my drive is possable if I get the proper information. I have received a few suggestions that make me believe I'm well on the way to success! You then can give the bill to the person who did this to you, by registered letter. In the letter you tell him that if he does not pay, you will be submitting this bill for legal collection. In a normal situation your advice is spot on, but there is a family connection here, and I would catch it from his mother. I have extracted satisfaction in an anonomous fashion. ;-] Since this is a laptop, password the machine, and never give it to anyone! Make sure you don't forget it. Exactly what I did as soon as the new drive was installed. Thank you. Louis--********************************************* Remove the two fish in address to respond -- Greetings, Jerry Greenberg GLG Technologies GLG ========================================= WebPage http://www.zoom-one.com Electronics http://www.zoom-one.com/electron.htm ========================================= A friend? of mine locked the Hard Drive in my Laptop (it was his way of "sticking it to me", and so far it's worked very well). As the boot process begins it stops, and asks for the password. The boot sequence is set for floppy first, but even trying to boot with a floppy wont allow progress past the password prompt. So far I've tried to boot to a floppy - no success - with the thought of a Low Level Format. I've placed the drive, with an adapter, into a desktop, and I discovered that BIOSs without a password scheme like a Laptop, reports the drive as a "failed disk". If I place it into another Laptop it asks for the password. I locked a different drive, placed it into the desktop, and it reported as a "failed disk". I put it back into the Laptop, unlocked it, and back into the desktop where it worked normally. Further research led me to the Hard Disk ATA Standard, which allows for a Hard Drive to be locked, and unlocked. It appears that the passwords (user, and master) are not on the platter, but stored in a register on the controller board. The logic sequence on boot up is to check if the drive is locked, and if it is it wont unlock the drive until the proper command, then the password is sent to the drive. The ATA Standard also indicates that if you know the Master Password, it will unlock the drive, and reset the user password to null. I understand the need for security, but I can't help but suspect that some clever chap has discovered a workaround short of sending the drive to a data recovery facility, and spending thousands of$.

There has to be a way of probing the register in question, and reading the
data necessary to unlock the drive.

I can buy a new drive for my Laptop, but I guess the challenge of
overcomingmthe situation is too much to pass up.

Any suggestions, Web Sites, other news groups, or assistance would be
appreciated!!

Thank you.

Louis--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

L

#### Louis Bybee

Jan 1, 1970
0
Yes I have. On a desktop, and a Laptop.

I have discovered the user, and master password, are resident in the
firmware of the drive controller. When the drive is accessed as part of the
boot process (regardless if it is a master, or slave) if the drive is
locked, and the password hasn't been entered, the drive returns a signal
that most systems without a Hard Drive password routine interpret as a
failed drive.

It would be interesting to see if the drive password register could be
probed to revel the contained data.

I know some method is possible as evidenced by the specialty firms that will
unlock a Hard Drive. Just take a wheel barrow full of money with you! :-]

Thank you.

Louis--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

JJ said:
Have you tried putting it back into the laptop with the new drive and
setting it to slave. Since it will not boot as slave you may be able to
retrieve info and reformat it.

Louis Bybee said:
Jerry G. said:
Normally with laptop computers, you have to take the machine to the
authorized service centre. You will require personal identification, and
most likely the bill of purchase. They can unlock the machine for
you.
The
authorized reps should have the manufacture utilities to zero the password.
There is normally a charge of about \$50 or so. There are many users who
forget their passwords for programs, and complete machines.

The machine in question is an older IBM Thinkpad Laptop. I am currently
using it with a new Hard Drive. The old drive is locked (he locked the drive
only), and taht's what I'm trying to get into. The drive itsself isn't worth
any time or expense, but I am determined to learn how to gain access to it.
IBM at their Web Site, and the local service center, indicated there is
nothing they could do for me.

I am convinced that accessing my drive is possable if I get the proper
information. I have received a few suggestions that make me believe I'm well
on the way to success!

You then can give the bill to the person who did this to you, by registered
letter. In the letter you tell him that if he does not pay, you will be
submitting this bill for legal collection.

In a normal situation your advice is spot on, but there is a family
connection here, and I would catch it from his mother. I have extracted
satisfaction in an anonomous fashion. ;-]

Since this is a laptop, password the machine, and never give it to anyone!
Make sure you don't forget it.

Exactly what I did as soon as the new drive was installed.

Thank you.

Louis--*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

--

Greetings,

Jerry Greenberg GLG Technologies GLG
=========================================
WebPage http://www.zoom-one.com
Electronics http://www.zoom-one.com/electron.htm
=========================================

A friend? of mine locked the Hard Drive in my Laptop (it was his way of
"sticking it to me", and so far it's worked very well). As the boot process
begins it stops, and asks for the password. The boot sequence is set for
floppy first, but even trying to boot with a floppy wont allow
progress
past
the password prompt.

So far I've tried to boot to a floppy - no success - with the thought
of
a asks
for and it,
and
for
a drive
is command,
then a
data

L

#### Louis Bybee

Jan 1, 1970
0
--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

BG said:
Louis said:
Yes I have. On a desktop, and a Laptop.

I have discovered the user, and master password, are resident in the
firmware of the drive controller. When the drive is accessed as part of the
boot process (regardless if it is a master, or slave) if the drive is
locked, and the password hasn't been entered, the drive returns a signal
that most systems without a Hard Drive password routine interpret as a
failed drive.

It would be interesting to see if the drive password register could be
probed to revel the contained data.

I know some method is possible as evidenced by the specialty firms that will
unlock a Hard Drive. Just take a wheel barrow full of money with you! :-]

Thank you.

Louis--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

Louis, There is a Linux version that runs from a CD. I think
it's called Knoppix or something like that. Possibly with the
help of a local geek (no offense intended) you could boot Linux,
mount the locked drive, and recover your data. I don't know.

I had a drive one time that all of a sudden became "invisible" to
NT4. I copied all my data off that drive with Linux, reformatted
it with windows, and moved everything back and the system was back
to normal.
Good suggestion, but with the password data resident in the controller card,
Linux or any other software that I'm aware of, wont access it. When the BIOS
attempts to pole it during bootup the drive returns a drive failure error if
the computer lacks a password handling utility (like a Laptop).

What I would really like to discover is if the registers containing the
password data are available for probing of the data contained, by external
software.

Thank you.

Louis

L

#### Louis Bybee

Jan 1, 1970
0
Paul Hovnanian P.E. said:
Louis said:
--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

BG said:
Louis Bybee wrote:
Yes I have. On a desktop, and a Laptop.

I have discovered the user, and master password, are resident in the
firmware of the drive controller. When the drive is accessed as part
of
the
boot process (regardless if it is a master, or slave) if the drive is
locked, and the password hasn't been entered, the drive returns a signal
that most systems without a Hard Drive password routine interpret as a
failed drive.

It would be interesting to see if the drive password register could be
probed to revel the contained data.

I know some method is possible as evidenced by the specialty firms
that
will
unlock a Hard Drive. Just take a wheel barrow full of money with
you!
:-]
Thank you.

Louis--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

Louis, There is a Linux version that runs from a CD. I think
it's called Knoppix or something like that. Possibly with the
help of a local geek (no offense intended) you could boot Linux,
mount the locked drive, and recover your data. I don't know.

I had a drive one time that all of a sudden became "invisible" to
NT4. I copied all my data off that drive with Linux, reformatted
it with windows, and moved everything back and the system was back
to normal.
Good suggestion, but with the password data resident in the controller card,
Linux or any other software that I'm aware of, wont access it. When the BIOS
attempts to pole it during bootup the drive returns a drive failure error if
the computer lacks a password handling utility (like a Laptop).

What I would really like to discover is if the registers containing the
password data are available for probing of the data contained, by external
software.

Here's an idea: If the drive password is stored in NVRAM in the disk
controller itself, swap controller boards with one from an identical
drive which hasn't had its password initialized yet.

If it is stored on the disk, you're out of luck unless someone has a
hack.

And hopefully, the bad sector map isn't also stored in this same NVRAM.
I have confirmed that per the ATA Standard the password data is resident on
the controller card. It has nothing to do with the platter. There are third
party software solutions to lock a drive, and in that case the password is
located on the drive media. I have recovered data from a locked Hard Drive
by replacing the controller board with an identical unit, and then accessing
the drive normally.

There has to be a method to remove the password as evidenced by the services
that will unlock a locked Hard Drive for about 1 & 1/2 wheelbarrows full of
money. The problem is they are rather tight lipped about the technology. :-]

Thank you.

Louis--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

L

#### Louis Bybee

Jan 1, 1970
0
Keith R. Williams said:
Paul Hovnanian P.E. said:
Louis Bybee wrote:

--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

Louis Bybee wrote:
Yes I have. On a desktop, and a Laptop.

I have discovered the user, and master password, are resident in the
firmware of the drive controller. When the drive is accessed as
part
of
the
boot process (regardless if it is a master, or slave) if the
drive
is
locked, and the password hasn't been entered, the drive returns
a
signal
that most systems without a Hard Drive password routine
interpret as
a
failed drive.

It would be interesting to see if the drive password register
could
be
probed to revel the contained data.

I know some method is possible as evidenced by the specialty
firms
that
will
unlock a Hard Drive. Just take a wheel barrow full of money with you!
:-]

Thank you.

Louis--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

Louis, There is a Linux version that runs from a CD. I think
it's called Knoppix or something like that. Possibly with the
help of a local geek (no offense intended) you could boot Linux,
mount the locked drive, and recover your data. I don't know.

I had a drive one time that all of a sudden became "invisible" to
NT4. I copied all my data off that drive with Linux, reformatted
it with windows, and moved everything back and the system was back
to normal.

Good suggestion, but with the password data resident in the
controller
card,
Linux or any other software that I'm aware of, wont access it. When
the
BIOS
attempts to pole it during bootup the drive returns a drive failure error if
the computer lacks a password handling utility (like a Laptop).

What I would really like to discover is if the registers containing the
password data are available for probing of the data contained, by external
software.

Here's an idea: If the drive password is stored in NVRAM in the disk
controller itself, swap controller boards with one from an identical
drive which hasn't had its password initialized yet.

If it is stored on the disk, you're out of luck unless someone has a
hack.

And hopefully, the bad sector map isn't also stored in this same NVRAM.
I have confirmed that per the ATA Standard the password data is resident on
the controller card. It has nothing to do with the platter. There are third
party software solutions to lock a drive, and in that case the password is
located on the drive media. I have recovered data from a locked Hard Drive
by replacing the controller board with an identical unit, and then accessing
the drive normally.

There has to be a method to remove the password as evidenced by the services
that will unlock a locked Hard Drive for about 1 & 1/2 wheelbarrows full of
money. The problem is they are rather tight lipped about the technology.
:-]

The password (and indeed all firmware) can indeed be stored on
the platter. AIUI all IBM ThinkPads do this[*] Without the
passwords the motherboard and drive may be toast. Of course
there are recovery companies who advertise a try at it. The
whole idea behind the scheme was to make the laptop unusable if
stolen.

[*] once upon a time there was a proposal to encrypt all using
this PW, but the ThnkPad folks thought they had it all covered
with their password scheme.

With the IBM Thinkpad I have you can have a BIOS or Boot Password, Hard
Drive Password, or an Admin. Password. Someone set the Hard Drive Lock, and
the unit required a password at turn on. Not knowing the password, I removed
the drive, and tried it on a Desktop. It reported as a failed drive. Using a
utility, I discovered the drive was locked with a user password. Replacing
the controller card allowed me to recover the data, and use the drive in the
Thinkpad again. The Thinkpad also would work with a different drive (the
other passwords (BIOS & Admin) hadn't been set).

As I reviewed the ATA Standard, the indication was that the User, and Master
passwords, were stored in the firmware (with no placement on the drive
media).

I locked a different drive (with a desktop) using the utility I have, and
the Laptop requested a password before access, and the Desktop reported a
failed drive.

It would appear to me that in this case the drive media wasn't used as a
storage medium for the password data.

I would dearly like to hear from someone that has unraveled this enigma!

Thank you.

Louis--
*********************************************
Remove the two fish in address to respond

Replies
4
Views
902
Y
Replies
1
Views
1K
J
B
Replies
19
Views
5K
B
M
Replies
12
Views
7K
RH.Campbell
R
Replies
2
Views
58