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View Full Version : Hard drive will not format! Hard drive is password protected!


adubz1
07-14-2004, 07:06 PM
I have a 12 GB IBM laptop hard drive. Apparently this hard drive has a built in password and because it has a built in password it will not let me format, delete the partition, or do anything for that matter. I did some research on the internet and there is only 1 company in the United States that can get it off but for a PRICE. I've been a technician for 5 years now and have never seen this before. Please can some PC GURU tell me how I can format this hard drive or get this password off???

Thank you,
Al

Aleksandar
07-14-2004, 07:19 PM
never heard of a hdd with a password on it am a tech 4 5 years to
maby you can see if there is a jumper on the hdd to disable it or something
maby you can get a low level format program form the hdd maker maxtor western digital or whatever it is

redbeard1
07-14-2004, 07:39 PM
Have you tried IBM/Hitachi's utility to erase the drive? Otherwise you might track down DBAN and try his wipe.

I swear I've seen this before, and it had to do with the drive not being seen properly by the system.

oldman420
07-14-2004, 07:48 PM
if you boot from the xp cd it will not let you reformat? wow

TallCoolOne
07-15-2004, 12:36 AM
Try booting from a linux installation CD and see if that will let you reformat. You can just exit the installation after the reformat step.

PrincessGuard
07-15-2004, 03:54 AM
Some drives are indeed password-protected so that you cannot access them at all without entering the key. Booting from CD or floppy and trying to format won't work because access is either controlled by the BIOS or the hard drive controller itself.

Try:
- Putting the drive in another system.
- http://rockbox.haxx.se/lock.html
- Giving up and thanking the ATA group for this wonderful feature.

23skidoo
07-15-2004, 09:32 AM
Have you tried booting to the IBM/Hitachi Drive Fitness Test boot floppy and then doing a complete low-level format of the drive? That should take care of it.

Fern
07-15-2004, 02:24 PM
I recall reading earlier this year about a viris that triggers the passwaord lockout. IIRC, the ATA standard has two levels of passwords. One can be worked around, and spoke of how to do it in the article. The other cannot. Renders your drive useless.

Maybe you can google around a bit and find the article. Sorry, I seemed to have deleted the link.

Good Luck

imported_Bunter
07-15-2004, 04:10 PM
Saw a similar problem recently with a laptop. Turned out the hard drive had died. It was spinning, but could not be accessed. Ontrack could not even pull any data out of it. Hope it is not the same type of issue.

It was a head-scratcher around here.

moonsite
07-15-2004, 08:58 PM
Try with hddkill or debug command?

adubz1
07-16-2004, 02:40 AM
Can you guys maybe give me links to softwares I can try??

ShenFu
07-16-2004, 05:49 AM
I've seen this quite a few times, especially on Dell machines, we use their laptops at work and we set a password for the hdd so that no-one from outside the company would not be able to access the information that is stored on it.

To set a password on those systems you need to do it in BIOS so I presume if you clean the bios you should be able to clear the HDD password. That is jst a theory and I have not tried that yet ;)

A utility like MadBoot (madboot.com) provides you with a freeware floppy disk that has several things on it and one of them is a CMOS cleaner, which basicly resets the cmos and removes cmos passwords, that might work for the HDD too ;)

adubz1
07-16-2004, 01:15 PM
Where can I find DBAN?

homestarmy
07-16-2004, 01:57 PM
Originally posted by: PrincessGuard
Some drives are indeed password-protected so that you cannot access them at all without entering the key. Booting from CD or floppy and trying to format won't work because access is either controlled by the BIOS or the hard drive controller itself.

Try:
- Putting the drive in another system.
- http://rockbox.haxx.se/lock.html
- Giving up and thanking the ATA group for this wonderful feature.

-Cut it open and use the platter(s) as chinese throwing stars and cut someone's head off.

redbeard1
07-16-2004, 07:04 PM
DBAN (http://dban.sourceforge.net/)

VirtualLarry
07-17-2004, 09:06 AM
Originally posted by: adubz1
I have a 12 GB IBM laptop hard drive. Apparently this hard drive has a built in password and because it has a built in password it will not let me format, delete the partition, or do anything for that matter. I did some research on the internet and there is only 1 company in the United States that can get it off but for a PRICE. I've been a technician for 5 years now and have never seen this before. Please can some PC GURU tell me how I can format this hard drive or get this password off???

Thank you,
Al

You could try downloading a modern copy of DFT. (I think that there might be versions specific for their notebook drives too, might want to check.)

The newer versions have a way of utilizing a HD's own internal "secure erase" feature, when choosing the "Erase Disk" function from the menu. That command might still be valid, even if the HD is locked-out from normal read/write access with a password. If you don't care about saving the contents, and just want to be able to reformat and use the HD, then that might be worth a shot to try.

If not? Well. You probably have yourself a 12GB paperweight.

(Well, there is one more thing to try - try doing a firmware update for the HD, if there is one available. It might clear the internally-stored password on the HD too. At least, updating the firmware on my 75GXP HD, cleared out all of the persistent SMART data. Good luck.)

Polishwonder74
07-19-2004, 11:24 AM
Not to be a complete a$$hole here or anything, but did you try booting with a floppy and FDISKing?

I dunno, I'm just trying to eliminate everything here.

adubz1
07-19-2004, 06:47 PM
Yea POLISHWONDER I've tried FDISK. That's the very first thing I tried, I'm not a fu*kin' rookie!!

AnotherPCGuy
08-15-2004, 06:34 PM
PrincessGuard gave some good info - though after checking into it and going through it and another 20 things you still need to know what the Master Password is! Aaaaargh! I have been fighting with a similar issue all day! The ATA folks were well intentioned - just wish there was some type of backdoor. For all the others here: this is something independant of the BIOS or the OS - directly provided by the hard drive as a means of protecting the data in the event of theft. (Just DONT forget your password!) If anyone else has any ideas - feel free! I would love to make the Hitachi Travelstar 40GB drive a replacement to the 20GB already in my laptop!

dclive
08-15-2004, 10:11 PM
Originally posted by: adubz1
I have a 12 GB IBM laptop hard drive. Apparently this hard drive has a built in password and because it has a built in password it will not let me format, delete the partition, or do anything for that matter. I did some research on the internet and there is only 1 company in the United States that can get it off but for a PRICE. I've been a technician for 5 years now and have never seen this before. Please can some PC GURU tell me how I can format this hard drive or get this password off???

Thank you,
Al

http://www-1.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?rs=0&q1=thinkpad+drive+password&uid=ps g1PSMS-3PWHTZ&loc=en_US&cs=utf-8&cc=us&lang=en

http://www-1.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?rs=0&q1=thinkpad+drive+password&uid=ps g1MIGR-4VGUYL&loc=en_US&cs=utf-8&cc=us&lang=en

http://www-1.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?rs=0&q1=thinkpad+drive+password&uid=ps g1MIGR-4VGUYQ&loc=en_US&cs=utf-8&cc=us&lang=en

Short version - I'm guessing you're out of luck, but it might be worth a quick call to IBM to confirm. They're talking about drive microcode updates, so it's plausable that without that password, you won't be able to hit the drive...

Steve
08-16-2004, 01:13 AM
Just for $h!ts and giggles, try Zap (http://www.chicorporation.com/support/IBM.html) or Wipe.

CHANDA
09-10-2004, 05:47 PM
Removing a Hard Disk Password:
The procedure to remove a hard disk password depends on whether or not it is set to the same password as the power-on password.

When the hard disk password is set the same as the power-on password:
Remove the password by following the procedure below. This operation removes both the hard disk password and the power on password.

You must remove your password at the password prompt that appears when you turn on the computer. To remove the password, at the prompt: Enter your current password, press the Spacebar and then press Enter.

When the hard disk password and the power-on password are different, or a power-on password has not been
set:
1. Turn off the computer and wait at least 5 seconds: then turn it on.
2. If you have set the power-on password, type it; then press Enter.
3. When the hard disk password prompt appears, type your current password, press the Spacebar, and then press Enter.

HOPE IT WORKS FOR YOU

CHANDA R PATEL
SHRIMANT K PATEL

PATELPLANET.COM (https://patelplanet.com)