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Disk drive password

T60/T61 series specific matters only
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JBUK
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Disk drive password

#1 Post by JBUK » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:46 pm

Anyone else noticed this ? I have a Samsung SSD that has a password set and it works fine for security in whichever T61 I fit it into. It is a drive that I swap between Thinkpads but there are two strange things with this.
1. It will not work in T60s because the correct password is not recognised.
2. The password can be switched on and off only in the T61 it was created in.

I am a bit puzzled by this because if the T61 dies on me I have no way of switching off the password.

I have a couple of passworded HDDs here and they work and the passwords can be changed in any T61 and also work in T60s. I am not sure if the password can be changed in a T60 when set on a T61 but I think this does work.

Thoughts ? Confirmation anyone?
Where to begin......
390X,700mhz
2 x T20
2 X T23 + 6 breaking for parts
1 X T23 with Samsung 840 SSD and XP Great combination !
4 X T60
5 X T61
2 X T601 15"

dr_st
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Re: Disk drive password

#2 Post by dr_st » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:49 pm

I remember a similar discussion before - certain Thinkpads hash the password in a non-standard way, so it can only be used/removed on the same model it was set.
Something like this:
https://github.com/jethrogb/lenovo-password

I had no idea that the algorithm varies between models. However. what you say is even more peculiar - you have only a specific T61 where it fully works, although it partially works (can be unlocked but not unset) in other T61s?

Have you tried clearing the password in that T61, setting a password somewhere else, and then seeing if that "problematic" T61 can unlock it?
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

JBUK
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Location: Oxford UK

Re: Disk drive password

#3 Post by JBUK » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:42 pm

Thanks for the github link. Maybe that will be of some use if the worst happens. But generally the bios will not even recognise a passworded disk without the correct password so I suppose there must be another way of getting to the disk.
But no, this SSD will only allow its password to be unset on the originating Tpad. I have two T61s here that I have tried it on, same on both. It can be used i.e. booted from on any T61.
My understanding is that the Bios writes the password to the disk firmware so maybe the Samsung firmware is overly locked down in the interests of security ??
Where to begin......
390X,700mhz
2 x T20
2 X T23 + 6 breaking for parts
1 X T23 with Samsung 840 SSD and XP Great combination !
4 X T60
5 X T61
2 X T601 15"

dr_st
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Re: Disk drive password

#4 Post by dr_st » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:31 am

It may be that the SSD firmware implements another protection level that attempts to tie the drive to the machine. I could conceivably see it as another level of data protection, but of course it has grim results if the machine itself dies.

Which SSD model is it exactly?

What exactly happens when you try to unset the password? Does it say that the password is wrong or gives some other error?
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

JBUK
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Posts: 176
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Location: Oxford UK

Re: Disk drive password

#5 Post by JBUK » Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:03 pm

dr_st wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:31 am

Which SSD model is it exactly?

What exactly happens when you try to unset the password? Does it say that the password is wrong or gives some other error?
Its a Samsung Evo 850 500gb. There is no error. The option in the Bios to change the User password is greyed out.

I am wondering if this is specific to my SSD or to all SSDs of whatever make. But I only have this one Samsung at the moment so I cannot do any further investigating.
Where to begin......
390X,700mhz
2 x T20
2 X T23 + 6 breaking for parts
1 X T23 with Samsung 840 SSD and XP Great combination !
4 X T60
5 X T61
2 X T601 15"

RealBlackStuff
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Re: Disk drive password

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:11 pm

Remove the password, that way you'll be 'future-proof'.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff). And pigs CAN fly!

Thinkpad4by3
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Re: Disk drive password

#7 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:25 pm

JBUK wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:03 pm
Its a Samsung Evo 850 500gb. There is no error. The option in the Bios to change the User password is greyed out.

I am wondering if this is specific to my SSD or to all SSDs of whatever make. But I only have this one Samsung at the moment so I cannot do any further investigating.
Those get kinda finicky with HDD passwords. They have some on-board controller that it also works with to make sure its good to boot. I know many drives have onboard encryption(OPAL?) and it may have something to do with that.

I do remember specifically picking out an 850 EVO drive because it had the encryption stuff. Don't remember why I needed encryption but having it on the drive was paramount in the situation.
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

pkiff
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Re: Disk drive password

#8 Post by pkiff » Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:07 am

Thinkpad4by3 wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:25 pm
I know many drives have onboard encryption(OPAL?) and it may have something to do with that.
Following up on Thinkpad4by3's suggestion, I'd note that different models of Thinkpads have different implementations of OPAL - they may be compatible with different versions of the spec, and also those machines are from an era when the OPAL spec was not being properly implemented on either machines or HDDs, so it is possible that the T60 series or T61 series have slightly different implementations that are incompatible with each other.

This is complicated by the fact that a self-encrypting HDD itself can function in different modes and that the mode often seems to get set when the disk is first initialized. For example, I think you can have the same exact drive in an identical machine but in one case have the ATA password (built-in BIOS level HDD password) active, while in the other case, you have an OPAL-compliant password. And I'm not sure how exactly you tell the difference. My W520 is supposedly compliant with OPAL v1, but not v2 (or maybe it's v2 but not v2.1, I forget), but it does not have a proper implementation of OPAL. In one case, I had to re-initialize a self-encrypting HDD in order to be able to set the HDD password in the BIOS, even though I only ever installed the HDD in this W520 machine. OPAL also links with your UEFI settings in your BIOS and with stuff that Windows does to tie that into your startup. And the T60/61 era were not fully compatible with UEFI either.

All of that is to say that I would suspect there is a difference in implementation of either OPAL or UEFI between the physical hardware of your T60 vs T61 that is possibly complicated by vendor-specific implementation in your SSD.

Phil.
X1 Carbon Tablet (3rd Gen) · W520 · T60p UXGA · Legacy: X61T SXGA+, X60T, 600X, 770Z SXGA
Nostalgic for: 600X PIII 850MHz in a SelectaDock III with 64MB Voodoo 5 5500 and Sound Blaster Audigy 5.1.

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