The HDD is locked & pwd forgotten on a DELL INSPIRON (Model PP23LA) How do we unlock it? Will replacing the drive work? We need this working sooner than sending in a Dell Ownership transfer request.

Posted on 2009-04-28
Last Modified: 2013-12-01
We gave my son a Dell Inspiron (model PP23LA) and the HDD ended up being locked with a forgotten password. Is there any way to unlock it from "someone in the know?" I know we can get it by transferring ownership ands requesting the master code but that takes a week, possibly more.

Would buying a new HDD work? Someone said on previous questions in the knowledge-base that it's not just the hard drive but ANY hard drive would now be locked. Would loading our OS on a new drive using another system then swapping it into the Dell get around this problem?

This can't be that uncommon. We see used Laptops all the time. Will this be a bigger problem in the future when people forget their passwords?

HELP, I just want to use the thing and get my son off my back!

Thank you,
Question by:cdksystems
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    By HDD password, do you want to say bios password. The prompt appends before windows boot
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    Usually HDD PW are isolated directly to the HDD Controller.

    There should be no reason why replacing the HDD wouldn't fix this issue.

    I also advise you that you can attempt to flash the HDD password. a utility's disc such as Hirens has the HDD password utility i had it work once!!! The drive is useless anyway so i guess its worth a shot.

    LVL 35

    Expert Comment


    Hiren's is not a regular utility disk, it's an illegal disk full of pirated commercial software.
    Please do not advertise it on Experts Exchange because
    a) this might cause severe problems for E-E
    b) it violates the E-E user agreement.

    Thank you.
    LVL 47

    Expert Comment


    No guarantee or warranty offered.

    If it's a hard disk password you'll need to take it to the agents with proof of ownership.

    Author Comment

    It is definitely not the bios password which we were already able to get past. the hard disk itself should be and is able to be reset or something done that allows for someone to clear the password. someone else posted this on another topic
     as well.

    I was hoping for a fast solution and sending the ownership forms in and going that route is NOT fast. After this weekend my son will be gone again for months.

    I have already decided that buying a new drive is the quick answer and appreciate the other fast responses. That's one of the reasons I love this place, everyone is very helpful and fast.


    Author Comment

    Although the solution referred to software not allowed on EE the remainder of the post was exactly what I needed to know.

    I had another drive from another Laptop we weren't using anymore and using it worked. I was able to install everything on it in no time at all and the LOCKED HDD was as described, part of the controller. (I didn't want to put a new one in the laptop and end up with another locked one! Whew!) I will copy the replacement drive to a new one tomorrow and we're done! If you ever use a password related to accessing hardware or buy a drive at a garage sale test it first somehow. It will save you a lot of  trouble down the road.

    Next time I will see about sharing the wealth. There was a good comment and a link that was worth going to posted too but all in all the solution accepted was the answer I needed.

    Thank you,


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