Harddisk Password

Hi Guys

I have a client whose daughter has set a password on her laptops hard drive thru the BIOS. Is there any way to remove it as the daughter claims to not know what it is.

Thanks and Regards

Matt
SconeComputersAsked:
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nobusCommented:
yes another disk is the solution, a s said
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ZShaverCommented:
depends on your laptop
what is the make/model?
sometimes this is only possible with soldering a jtag or having the mfgr of the laptop reset it.

If you give me the make/model i'll look into it for you
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andytagonistCommented:
hard drive passwords are stored in the service sector which is not easily accessible.  you might be out of luck.  
sometimes BIOS passwords can be erased by pulling the battery or some other trick depending on manufacturer--but generally, hard drive passwords are stored in hidden locations on the drive.  

http://www.computing.net/answers/hardware/how-to-clear-hard-drive-password/48527.html
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ComputerDudeLVCommented:
I agree with Andy. You may have to open the Laptop and remove the battery for 5 minutes, then reinsert the battery. This will set the BIOS to defaults and will require no password.
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
If it's a BIOS password, see the EE BIOS passwords article for what we know about the subject.

It should be emphasized that pulling batteries no longer works to defeat laptop passwords.  Laptop manufacturers are increasingly having to prove that their systems are secure, and the previous solution of pulling batteries or replacing password chips no longer works on newer laptops with integral hardware security.

andytagonist is correct regarding hard drive passwords.  There are a few drive manufacturers that can deal with forgotten hard drive passwords -- for a fee -- but for most drives there is no backdoor.  For some models, doing a secure erase will wipe the disk and unlock the password, making the disk ready to reload Windows - however, on others, it merely results in an erased and still locked drive.

There are some service bureaus on the web that claim to be able to deal with passworded hard drives.  I would be suspicious, myself, and in any case not pay unless success was assured and proven.
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andytagonistCommented:
To clarify BIOS-based passwords:  pulling the battery is an old trick. I've recently used software tricks as well as spoofing tricks to remove BIOS passwords, but there's a type known as "stringent password" that will not go away. No matter what.

Aside from all that, hard drive passwords have a few flavors. Sometimes the BIOS controls whether the system will boot--which brings us right back to hacking BIOS passwords. Maybe the BIOS is wide open and there's a hard drive password you can simply turn off or blank out or possible reset the BIOS back to factory specs. Other hard drive passwords are stored ON the drive and may not be blanked out when you wipe the drive.

Check with the laptop manufacturer about it. If it turns out to be some sort of add-on software like encryption, consider contacting them.

Your best bet:  check the BIOS for password settings to see if you an clear them. Be prepared to wipe the drive and it still be locked.
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nobusCommented:
You can't remove the password, without knowing it !   -->  ( what good is a password that can be "repaired" ?)
modern laptops keep it in a security chip - for anti-theft reasons
resetting the bios does not help;  nor does removing the battery, since the password is not in there
you would need to know in what chip it is, and how to reset that
you have to turn it in to the manufacturer, and show proof of ownership - then they can help
or replace the mobo !
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SconeComputersAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone. I already tried pulling out the BIOS battery. This does reset the CMOS but unfortunately the harddisk password remains so I believe it may have been enabled thru the BIOS but is hard coded into the drive/disk controller on the mobo.

The laptop is an Activo LV-3000.

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andytagonistCommented:
Try tweaking or resetting the BIOS with the utilities on here:  
http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd

If none of this works, you're probably out-of-luck, by design. Your only other option is to contact the laptop manufacturer and see what they have to say.
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nobusCommented:
andy - that cd is illegal - can't be used here...
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andytagonistCommented:
my bad...it's loaded with all freeware, shareware, and free apps except for the MiniXP--which i figured was useless in this case.  i thought it was legit.  

A site admin will be along shortly to remove it...
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ZShaverCommented:
im afraid you are completely out of luck here
this is an obscure laptop model with very little information online about it
because it is a non-recognizable brand and there is very little technical literature on it
your only hope is the manufacturer

You can use their contact form here and ask them for advice directly, e.g. if you can do it yourself and how, or how much it would cost for them to fix it:
http://www.activo.com.tw/contact.asp

If this was my daughter she wouldn't have access to a computer or the internet for months :P.
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SconeComputersAuthor Commented:
Hi Guys,

Once again thanks, appreciate all the responses. I pulled the HDD out and as suspected connecting thru a usb dock to another PC results in a CRC error.

Installed a different HDD into the laptop and it boots to the bios fine, I imagine it will install windows too.
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