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HDD Lost Password- HP TC1100

Posted on 2007-07-31
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Last Modified: 2013-11-29
I have an HP TC1100, Tablet PC. I lost my Hard drive password. When the computer boots up, there is a BIOS password, which I have, and then it prompts for a Hard Drive password, which I forgot. How do I recover or bypass the HDD password. The password is only numerical. After entering it wrong twice it locks you out, and then you must boot it back up.
 The OS is only on the Hard drive, C drive, I can use a CD drive but the it still prompts for the HDD password.
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Question by:gmwehrle
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warrenbuckles earned 1000 total points
ID: 19606244
Hello  gmwehrle:

As I see it, you have two ways to approach the problem: 1)more-or-less brute force, which bypasses the HDD password completely and tries to access the data on the drive; if this is successful, back up the data to another media and do a bare metal system restore.  2) Finesse: getting around the password with the help of HP.

Regardless, the HDD password is encrypted in the boot area of the drive and is extremely difficult to recover.  It's possible that HP can do this, and the worst thing they can say is 'no,' so trying them first would be a good move.

One (of many) brute force approaches would be to boot off a different media, such as an external CD drive.  You <might> be able to boot the system using the Universal Boot CD (http://www.ubcd4win.com/) and see if you can access any of the data on the hard drive.  If you can boot, and the data are readable (for example, take a look at some user files in the 'Documents and Settings' folder), then, back up your data, zero-fill the drive and reload the system from the HP system CD set.  

Some HDD-password/encryption schemes use the password as a seed to encrypt all the data on the drive, in which case the brute force methods are all doomed, as is your data.

Sorry to be so negative, but security schemes like yours are pretty hard to break.

Another avenue would be to try one of the data recovery outfits like Ontrack.  I'm not sure how they deal with situations like yours, however.

wb
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by:nobus
ID: 19606736
i do not believe you can get around such a pasword; they are kept in security chips, and nearly impossible to get by.
As said, contact HP, show proof of ownership, and pay.
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by:wct296
ID: 19607122
The whole reason I put my HDD password on was because it was almost unbreakable.. if someone steals my laptop, its my understanding that the data on it is encrypted based on my password (loosely). Have you tried turning off the HDD password feature in the bios?

I seriously doubt you are going to have much luck, if anyone will be able to help u, HP will and they SHOULD ask for ID and proof of purchase first.
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by:Rick Hobbs
Rick Hobbs earned 1000 total points
ID: 19609711
I ran into exactly the same situation with a client on an HP tablet.  Unfortunately, the news is only bad.  HP cannot help decrypt the data.  Your only option is to brute-force it.  Try, try, reboot...try,try,reboot...try,try,reboot.  Hopefully you have a pretty good idea what the code is and you won't need to start at all zeroes and work your way up to all nines.

Sorry for the bad news.

Rick
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