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Acer Aspire 5517 HDD Password reset

Posted on 2010-11-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I'm working on a Acer Aspire 5517. I've used this EE post to reset the BIOS password. Now, however, the computer is asking for a HDD password. The same service manual  (link here) explains how to remove a HDD password and references UnlockHD.EXE.

After an extensive search I can't find it on the Acer website or anywhere else. Does anyone know how to proceed?

Thanks!
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Question by:ssvarc
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17 Comments
 
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Tolomir earned 250 total points
ID: 34132105
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by:Tolomir
ID: 34132110
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by:Tolomir
ID: 34132119
Btw. why do you face these problems?

One could think you are not the owner of this laptop...
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Author Comment

by:ssvarc
ID: 34148387
Tolomir:

Thanks for the zip file. Sorry I didn't respond right away as I was busy with other client's computers.

To use this it needs to be on a bootable CD and in DOS mode. As well, it works after locking the HDD and then generating an unlock code. Therefore the next steps need to be iron-clad before I can risk a clients drive. How should I proceed?

Thanks!
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by:Tolomir
ID: 34185596
Well, as already stated, I am not an expert in unlocking HDDs, I also wonder why the HDD is locked in the 1st place. You state you were busy with other client computers, why is the client with this locked HDD not contacting Acer? Encrypting the HDD is a security feature to render theft useless.

He 1st has to proof ownership, then they will surely help him.

Tolomir
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Author Comment

by:ssvarc
ID: 34185666
Tolomir:

So besides for quite overtly and repeatedly casting aspersions about my motives (which has by now gone beyond being rude and insulting to downright childish - has the cost of sending a computer out of warranty back to Acer for repair vs local technician never crossed your mind?) you have no further advice or links as to how to go about the solution? Then thanks but no thanks. I have no need to prove to anyone that I'm a legitimate repair technician, least of all to someone who can't help even after such proof is proffered.
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by:rindi
ID: 34186073
Normally HD passwords can't be reset without knowing them. These passwords are very secure, and even if you send the PC with proof of ownership to Acer, they probably can't help you. The reason to have an HD password in place is to keep the data safe from others in case of theft, and often it is better to write that data off than risking it getting into other's hands. Usually companies with such data also keep it on their servers, after all.

So unless your Client remembers and can tell you the password, I doubt you'll be able to use that HD again.

The cheapest option is to replace the HD with a new one, and restore the OS to factory defaults from the media the client created after he got the PC, and if he doesn't have those either, you can always order recovery media from Acer (that's cheaper than retail OS's), or install an alternative OS, like Linux Mint....
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by:phototropic
ID: 34186138
This site appears to give details of the proceedure:

http://www.acerlaptoprepairs.info/aspire-5517/remove-hddbios-password-utilities.html

There is nothing "rude" or "insulting" or "childish" about questioning the need to bypass both the BIOS and hdd passwords on someone else's laptop. If a customer brought me a  laptop and told me that they had "forgotten" both passwords, I would refuse to work on it.

Here in the UK the law is quite clear on this matter. If I help someone to make a stolen laptop usable, I am liable to prosecution as an accessory to a criminal act. Ignorance is no defence.

If your client is not a family member, I would be very careful...
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Author Comment

by:ssvarc
ID: 34187085
phototropic:

Those details were already referenced above, by myself, but they leave out essential steps in the process, namely how to get the UnlockHD.exe unto a working disc.

And there is something rude, insulting and childish in thinking that a long time member is really someone out to break the law instead of who he claims to be. And if one does think so, they don't have to respond to the question. To "respond" with "Why do you need this information? Are you trying to break the law?" is a waste of time. What do they expect? "Oops, you got me"?

Either assume the reasonable or pass on the question. Don't waste others time with ones accusations and unsolicited advice.
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by:Davis McCarn
ID: 34187849
I am going to assume the asker has legitimate access to the system and is acting on behalf of the owner, in part because I regularly encounter people who forgot their passwords, changed them accidentally, or are disgruntled ex-employees who set it on their way out.
Go here and you can get numerous images and help with bootable CD's, USB drives, and floppies: http://www.bootdisk.com/  It will cost you $4; but, you'll be able to download as many as you want.  (Personally, I use the NTFS CD regularly to disinfect systems or to run CHKDSK)
That will get you the DOS prompt so you can run the unlock utility.
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by:phototropic
ID: 34191814
"...Either assume the reasonable or pass on the question..."

Actually, I think I'll assume the reasonable (?) AND pass on the question...
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Author Comment

by:ssvarc
ID: 34304547
I know it's been a long time, but other clients and computers have pushed this to the back burner. I'll reprt as I get new information.
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Assisted Solution

by:josephkurtc
josephkurtc earned 250 total points
ID: 35413951
ssvarc,  I have used "unlockhd.exe" to unlock an acer netbook hard drive before.  The unlockhd.exe program does not require a separate DOS boot disk.  It actually works in any "Windows" cmd.exe environment.  You can use another computer to run unlockhd.exe.  It generates a code to give to the BIOS locked hard drive password prompt.  The effect of Unlockhd.exe is to erase the BIOS hard drive password.  From what I remember, you should boot from cold boot, enter the wrong password about two times and you will get a code# on the last try that you give to unlockhd.exe.  Like I said, you can run unlockhd.exe on another PC to enter the code and generate the resulting code (from unlockhd.exe). You enter # from unlockhd.exe on the locked PC BIOS prompt.  Upon reboot, the BIOS hard drive password should be essentially "cleared".  Hopes this help.
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Author Comment

by:ssvarc
ID: 35501397
It doesn't run on 64 bit versions of Windows. This is very much on the back burner currently, but will report back when have a chance to try on 32 bit.
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by:Tolomir
ID: 35501472
I would use the freedos http://www.freedos.org/freedos/files/
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Author Comment

by:ssvarc
ID: 35501757
OK, sucess at last! I ran UnlockHD in a cmd window on Win7 32 bit (the syntax is as follows: unlockhd.exe <number given by HD>, so unlock then a space then the lock number) and it unlocked the HD.

Thanks to Tolomir for the utility and josephkurtc for the instructions.

Its a wrap folks...
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