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DriveLock or ATA-3 Secured drives - wiping?

Posted on 2004-08-23
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I have two 12Gb hard drives, both used in a Compaq Armada M300 laptop.

Both drives were configured with Drivelock, which, according to Compaq/HP is based on the ATA-3 Security specification. The laptop has since died and I seem to have no way of recovering the drives. I'm not bothered about recovering the data, just cleaning the drives for use in another machine. However it seems that unless I have an Armada M300 or newer I'm not going to be able.

Is this the case? I really need this in the next 24hrs or I'm screwed, and am going to have to go to a shop (rip off) to buy a new drive suitable for the situation.

Any help much appreciated!
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Question by:bigandybear
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11 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Blue_Rishi
ID: 11875315
If the drives are locked and you don't have the password, then yes, the drives are not usable. (or at least not very easily; the password/lock is written to invisable tracks on the platters; need professional equipment or datarecovery service if you want to unlock it, and that'll cost more than a new drive). If the drives arren't locked, you can simpley use them in another system, as far I as I know...to use them on regular IDE, you'll need a converter though (if the drives are 2.5").

Blue Rishi
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:wdr503
ID: 11875775
Try using WDClear.exe to clean the drive. We have used it in the government sector with locked drives that need to be cleaned.
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Author Comment

by:bigandybear
ID: 11881051
where can i get wdclear, and how much does it cost (if anything)?
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 11881268
There is a long thread here at EE dealing with password-protected hard drives. The general outcome is more in line with the comment from Blue_Rishi; in essence, you can't do anything to these drives, not even clear them as that would constitute a "write" operation, which is not allowed on a locked drive. You can't even low-level format. This protection scheme actually seems to work quite OK, protecting peoples' data if a drive/computer gets stolen.
/RID
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Author Comment

by:bigandybear
ID: 11881814
Pants!

I take it unless i find another, similar computer, i'm screwed then?
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 11885808
If the drives are indeed password protected, the type of computer is irrelevant. It's in the ATA standards.
If some other type of protection is instead active, something computer-specific, you may have better luck with a computer of the samt type.
/RID
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 11886197
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Expert Comment

by:wdr503
ID: 11887678
You can find wdclear.exe here:
http://www.jdr.cz/ovladace/HARDDISK/WDCLEAR/

1.download this file and copy it to a bootable floppy

2. Take the drive in question out of the laptop and by using an adapter install it onto the primary master IDE of a desktop.

3. Boot to the floppy and type wdclear at the A:\ and then follow the directions to write zeros to the drive.

This should clear everything that is on the drive of every byte and sector.

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Expert Comment

by:gfdos
ID: 11897058
Since you dont care about the information another option is to magnetically wipe the drive.... Radio shack used to sell a bulk eraser, which is basicly a large electromagnet that could be used to wipe out tapes and floppy disks.... if the lock is stored in the firmware of the drive however you may be out of luck....

However you might look into updating the firmware of the drive in question from the manufacturer of the drive... it would probably clear all the partition info too tho.... as it would be encripted...
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Accepted Solution

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rid earned 1500 total points
ID: 11899649
A bulk eraser will also take out the servo information from the platters, rendering the drive irreparably useless.

 http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Q_20423260.html

I really recommend this thread. A bit long, but there is quite a lot of useful HD info in it.
/RID
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