My understanding, and my concern, arises from a couple of previous posts including the original one by @RealBlackStuff. In simple terms, is it possible for Computrace to be introduced - or activated - on a computer simply by the installation of a new hard drive (HDD or SSD) or even - as @Eugor 's post at #29 implies - by connecting a thumb drive?
It seems that a number of manufacturers - not just Lenovo, but also HP, Dell and perhaps others - incorporate the Computrace program or some sort of key to it in their hardware (the motherboard, EEPROM, BIOS or wherever). But as I understand it, this remains "dormant" or disabled until somehow it is activated.
Hence we had the situation in the OP, where a T61 computer was apparently clean with no Computrace elements in its hardware. But when a different hard drive, with an OS (Win7) on it, was put into it for a test, that hard drive apparently installed (or activated) Computrace on the clean computer simply because the T400 computer from which the hard drive had come, had Computrace enabled, but not activated, on it. In other words it acted just like a virus!
That has obviously got @Eugor worried that by plugging a thumb drive with a Linux OS into a T61 computer which had the Computrace nastiness already in its hardware, that thumb drive may be infected too.
The post #12 by @trac explains that Computrace (or some elements of it) are located and hidden in an invisible part of the hard drive (the Host Protected Area, HPA) which cannot be cleaned or erased except by using a sequence of
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So.... what's my problem?
I have a second-hand Thinkpad 430s. It undoubtedly has the Computrace option built into its hardware, since this seems to be standard for that model. When I got the laptop, it had a 120GB SSD installed, with Win10. It worked. I had no reason to look into the BIOS. So I didn't know whether Computrace was enabled/activated at that stage. But the laptop was supposed to have been delivered with a 240GB SSD. So I complained to the suppliers (a reseller of corporate machines) and they sent me a 240GB SSD, with Win10, as a replacement.
It was when I installed that replacement 240GB SSD that I had to go into the BIOS because it would not boot (turned out that a UEFI v Legacy BIOS setting needed to be changed). And that was when I saw the warning that Computrace was there, enabled, and activated.
Having found the guidance on this forum, I phoned the Computrace firm, Absolute Software, and asked for it to be disabled/removed. A day or two later, it had been deactivated and I have now permanently disabled it. So that's fine.....
BUT..... what do I do about the 120GB SSD that was originally supplied and fitted into this laptop? Does it have the Computrace "infection" in its HPA? If I insert this SSD - with Win10 still on it - into another [clean] computer, will it enable and/or activate Computrace on that computer?
How - exactly - do I scan or examine that 120GB SSD to find out whether it is carrying Computrace or any part of it? I would quite like to keep the Win10 OS on it rather than clean and "nuke" it either with DBAN or by using those
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