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  1. #1
    Joined
    Feb 2006
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    67

    Unhappy Hard drive locked

    About a week ago my GF's sister, who apperantly knows little about computers atleast from what ive seen, some how managed to put a password on the hard drive to my GF's laptop. from what i heard she purposely did it to get back at her (for some unknown reason), and im left wondering if she got someone to do it, cuz i know that she doesnt even have a clue on how to access the bios or even know what bios is. well i entered the bios but when i tried to clear the password or set a new one im prompted to eneter the current password.
    second i removed the cmos bat. to clear up the bios and any passwords and that didnt work at all.
    last i gave my old ERD commander a try but everytime i tried to access the HDD it locked up.
    i really have nothing else to throw at it, and its starting to get frustrating because she uses this laptop for her college classes and had very important files in it. could anyone give me any other suggestions? ive contacted the manufactures and the laptop has no warranty. and plus its a gateway

  2. #2
    Joined
    Dec 2001
    Age
    71
    Posts
    64,554

    Re: Hard drive locked

    What make and model drive is it?? Your only alternative may very well be to use the manufacturer's diagnostics to first test the drive, then use it to wipe,erase/LLformat,zero fill the drive, and start from scratch with a clean O/S installation.

  3. #3
    Joined
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    67

    Re: Hard drive locked

    its a Hitachi 60GB, i was thinking about using the diagnostic tool but i really dont wanna wipe it out since theres valuable info. a clean OS would be fine if it was mine but its something im really trying to avoid.

  4. #4
    Joined
    Dec 2001
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    64,554

    Re: Hard drive locked

    Then back up or otherwise retrieve all you can to another drive. Then test it using Hitachi's Drive Fitness Test. There's no excuse for NOT testing a drive when its integrity is in question.

    http://www.hitachigst.com/hdd/support/download.htm#DFT

  5. #5
    Joined
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Mumbai, India
    Posts
    1,084

    Re: Hard drive locked

    Sorry, the below reply is irrelevant as I think we're talking about a laptop BIOS and not a hard drive.

    You need to insert the recovery CDs to get the data back. Quite a simple procedure, but it will wipe the drive.

    The other possibility is to physically remove the drive and install it in a temporary casing, back the data up and then reinstall the OS.

    Good luck.
    I have bad news.

    There is NO way to get data out of that drive, save for expensive professional recovery.

    I've had this happen to me on one of my old Seagate 40Gb drives, which was thankfully empty at the time, or did not have critical data on it. No password recovery utilities worked on it and neither did a zero fill. I also tried a very strong magnetic field on it.

    All to no avail. I finally gave the drive away free to someone who was looking for a new control board for his.

    I figured that the drive master password is required to be able to access a locked drive, or the user set password. No HDD companies give away the master password anymore (there is a list you can try, along with an utility called ATAPWD), so if you've locked the drive you need the user password.

    It's quite a secure method of locking up a machine. The best ever. And while the disk is locked, it will not be accessible to any kind of disk utility. Except ones that allow you to enter a password. And then you need that password.

    Sorry couldn't be of more help. But if you find a fix, it would be great to know. Do post back on how you deal with this.
    Last edited by sangram; 06-02-2008 at 11:48 AM.

  6. #6
    Joined
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    67

    Re: Hard drive locked

    sounds like there might not be a way around it, i ran the diagnostics tool but it did not even pick up the drive, due to the password lock. i wonder why people do this to other people its very annoying and frustrating.. well i have one more software to try out hopefully it works its my only last shoot at unlocking this... may the HDD gods be by my side during these hard times..

  7. #7
    Joined
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    2,533

    Re: Hard drive locked

    Seems to be some confusion here. Password protecting a hard drive is very different from a BIOS password. A password protected hard drive should still boot. A BIOS password should be re-settable by one means or another. Gateway would be the best source of info about that. Barring that, removing the hard drive and accessing it from another system would save the data.

  8. #8
    Joined
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    67

    Re: Hard drive locked

    Quote Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post
    Seems to be some confusion here. Password protecting a hard drive is very different from a BIOS password. A password protected hard drive should still boot. A BIOS password should be re-settable by one means or another. Gateway would be the best source of info about that. Barring that, removing the hard drive and accessing it from another system would save the data.
    Exactly, so your saying if i remove the HDD and place it on another system, it should read the HDD even though it is being password protected? or does the password lock lay with the gateway system? and not the HDD?

  9. #9
    Joined
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    2,533

    Re: Hard drive locked

    Quote Originally Posted by jubei636 View Post
    Exactly, so your saying if i remove the HDD and place it on another system, it should read the HDD even though it is being password protected? or does the password lock lay with the gateway system? and not the HDD?
    Again, password protection at the BIOS level does not effect the hard drive at all. Conversely, a password protected hard drive should still boot, depending on the level of protection. It should at least give you a Windows or boot disc error.

    My concern, if someone was futzing with the laptop, is that something far more permanent was done to it than a password protection.

  10. #10
    Joined
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    549

    Re: Hard drive locked

    Where exactly is the password?

    When are you prompted to enter it?

    At the BIOS level?

    In order to boot the OS?

    The OS boots but the drive is encrypted and pass word protected?

    This really makes a difference. If it is a Windows password, there may well be ways to unlock the machine.
    Ha ha haaa....ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    - John Lydon, final Sex Pistols show

  11. #11
    Joined
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    67

    Re: Hard drive locked

    Quote Originally Posted by gallowsroad View Post
    Where exactly is the password?

    When are you prompted to enter it?

    At the BIOS level?

    In order to boot the OS?

    The OS boots but the drive is encrypted and pass word protected?

    This really makes a difference. If it is a Windows password, there may well be ways to unlock the machine.
    during the start up im asked for a HDD password Immediatly, its a black screen with a window asking for a hdd password. the OS does not Boot, and when i went into the BIOS i found that the HDD was locked with a password, so when i tried to clear it i was prompted to enter my current password so that i can change the password or clear the lock status...

    Now i have already removed the HDD and installed in other system and i still get a locked HDD and am prompted for a password..

  12. #12
    Joined
    Jun 2002
    Location
    catford south london
    Posts
    8,208

    Re: Hard drive locked

    format it and reload xp on it
    P5Q Deluxe
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    ATI 5850
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  13. #13
    Joined
    May 2002
    Location
    Kansas
    Age
    33
    Posts
    1,088

    Re: Hard drive locked

    If it is in another system and still prompts you for a password, it sounds like the password protection is in the boot block. You might be able to luck out of this by ensuring that your "other" machine is not set to boot from the locked hard drive. You'd be able to access your data if so. You might also try booting from an Ubuntu livecd in your other machine to see if your data is accessible. Ideally, your other machine would be a normal desktop of a different brand to ensure no proprietary protection scheme is going to be picked up. I'm not aware of a hard drive being able to install a controller BIOS during startup, and that would be about the only other way to make the lock follow the hard drive.
    Sometimes I feel like I'm becoming a dinosaur.

  14. #14
    Joined
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
    Age
    70
    Posts
    585

    Re: Hard drive locked

    Before people got carried away to reformat the hard disk etc let's talk common sense.

    The Bios password should protect the Bios setting only making the PC booting to a specific device.

    If the hard disk is protected by password it would be a program ran at the boot time. This can be overcome by booting the PC to another operating system which simply doesn't run the protection software.

    If the resident operating system is a MS Windows then any Linux Live CD can be used to boot up the PC, mount the hard disk partition and access/retrieve all the internal data.

    There is absolutely no technical reason or necessity to write the disk off.

    Wheneve a MS Windows doesn't boot due to a corrupted or missing system file a free Linux Live CD is all it takes to recover every single byte in the hard disk. The Majority of the Linux distros will allow the user to surf Internet, play MP3, view photos, edit Word documents, work on Excel spreadsheets, watch DVD movies while the data is being retrieved.

    Some selected Linux Live CDs can also provide a Grub prompt with which a user can boot up a MS Windows without using its MBR which is the likely culprit invoking a password program. It is also possible another boot loader may have taken over and it has a password system in force. Using Grub can bypass it.

    Grub is one of the two main Linux boot loaders. There is no installed PC system in existence that Grub cannot boot, even manually by a user.
    Last edited by saikee; 06-02-2008 at 08:47 PM.

  15. #15
    Joined
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    2,533

    Re: Hard drive locked

    What would "fdisc MBR" do in this case?

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