View Full Version : Hard Drive Password Protection

04-06-2003, 08:56 AM
Help! I have just bought a secondhand harddrive for my toshiba laptop satellite. It is off an IBM thinkpad (4GB). After a rather simple and easy installation process things turned to custard as it requires a password on bootup :\. The guy I bought it off (trademe) did not actually run it and doesn't seem to be forth coming with any help. Can anyone here help with some sort of bypass or is it a lost cause. New drives for laptops are so bloody expensive.

04-06-2003, 02:08 PM
Hang on... so you installed your operating system and then it asked for a password?? So before, you could actually boot in?


04-06-2003, 05:05 PM
Does this drive have your OS on it? It sounds like you're talking about it as a 2nd hard drive.

Is it possible to format it or erase the MBR?

04-06-2003, 06:43 PM
The password is required straight after bootup mem check. I have no idea what information is on the hard drive and am goin to fdisk and format it anyways. Any ideas?

04-06-2003, 08:33 PM
Something that protects the hard drive on boot up... hmmm is it running drivecrypt???

It sounds like you have put a bios password on your computer. Did you do that by mistake? Or are you sure the password is on the hard drive itself??

On startup, press whatever key to get into the bios setup, and once inside change the 'user' password needed to access the system. Then see if u can start up the computer.

I would be curious as to what was on the hard drive. It sounds as if it hasn't been wiped properly. If you can get in, have a look at whats on it :p

If you still can't access the drive to even format it, I would demand a refund from the loser that sold it to you on trademe. :-\

04-06-2003, 09:42 PM
The password is definately only on the harddrive, but as yet I haven't heard back from the guy whom sold me the dodgey device. I fear I have wasted my monies :(. Still, I wonder what is on it.

04-06-2003, 09:52 PM
email me "robsonde @ hotmail.com"

I have a toy I write a few years ago that might help.

boot off a dos boot disk and run my program and it will remove any boot sector info, password, virus, MBR ,partition info.

it's only a few kb in size and run it only one second.

04-06-2003, 10:16 PM
I haven't managed to get it to see the floppy for boot before it asks for password :| . Not sure if there are any bios settings which may let me do this, will have to take a closer look. If so I think I can do an unconditional format (format c: /u) which should remove password. Will let ya know how I get on.

04-06-2003, 10:21 PM
Did you complain about the guy on trademe??


04-06-2003, 10:26 PM
He bought a bunch of them as a lot and sold individually so he had no idea the condition of the stuff he was selling. Will post a warning to others about buying stuff off him.

04-06-2003, 10:34 PM
if it happens right after the bootup mem check, then it's definetely a BIOS password.

04-06-2003, 10:49 PM
if you set the BIOS to boot for floppy first??

can you boot the system with the drive installed but not set in the BIOS?

05-06-2003, 12:21 AM
He is not the problem it is the security that is giving you problems. You need to learn how to disable the security.

05-06-2003, 08:29 AM
What happens when I turn on the computer is it does the mem check then straight away says "Built-in HDD Password :" It does not get any further in to let me enter bios as usual with the last drive I had in there.
The faulty hdd installed lets me into bios still but as soon as I switched drives it gives me the built-in password prompt. Tis a bit of a conundrum. :|

05-06-2003, 08:57 AM
iof you can set the BIOS to not have a drive defined and boot the system from the floppy then my program can help you.

05-06-2003, 10:29 AM
I think I Have some bad news for you :(

I used to service Acer laptops and there was an option in the BIOS to put a HDD password on.
This is an added security feature that stopped people from just removing the HDD and putting it in another laptop/PC to read the data. The password is actually written into the HDD BIOS/Firmware.
I was told by Acer to be very careful of this password because if you forget it the only way to remove it is to send the HDD back to the manufacturer!

05-06-2003, 05:33 PM
Thanks for all your help and ideas. I think I am going to have to purchase another one. Ta anyways folks. ;)

05-06-2003, 07:32 PM
Very interesting CyaBro.

Icarus, ask for a refund from the person you bought it off on trademe. Threaten to put bad feedback on and say you will contact trademe to get his account removed etc.

Its not fair that he should sell you a hard drive you can't even use.

Either that or you can send the hdd back to the manufacturer and get it fixed :)

05-06-2003, 09:13 PM
Have just got off the phone from IBM and they tell me that there is absolutley no way around it. If they receive one back from someone who has forgotten their password, they just replace it. Bah humbug.
Thanx anyways chaps

05-06-2003, 09:19 PM
where in NZ are you??

I might take the drive off your hands for a few dollers....

I still think my little program might fix it :-)

05-06-2003, 09:38 PM
I am in warkworth, north auck, you can have for free if ya want it mate. ;)

05-06-2003, 09:39 PM
email me with address ptang_ptang_ole @hotmail.com

05-06-2003, 09:55 PM
Don't be so hard on the person who sold it as they probably did not know about that.

Robin S_
05-06-2003, 10:07 PM
Here's a long shot. Have you tried booting up directly from a floppy - ie with a floppy inserted when you switch on? If it checks the floppy before it looks at the hard drive, it might work, but if it is HDD-access passworded a la Acer it probably won't. In any case even if you can boot from a floppy you won't necessarily get access to the HDD.

Some months ago there was a thread on this forum (in fact I think a couple or more threads) on what to do if you lose your BIOS password. A search on that could prove informative.

05-06-2003, 10:13 PM
so far we have discovered that it is NOT a BIOS password and you cant make to system boot from the floppy first.

the next step is to test if you can boot th system from the floppy with the hard drive set to none in bios, you still can access the hard drive if you know how to code in assembler. :-)

05-06-2003, 11:35 PM
If however it is, as has been clearly suggested, a security feature in the actual drive firmware (NOT the PC bios, but the firmware of the IDE drive itself) then you will never get access to the drive without the password, as any access to an IDE device has to be via the drive firmware.

Only service agents are likely to be able to re-write the drive controller flash ram. Or not.