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HDD Password issues

W500/510/520 and W700/710 series specific matters only
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Christian
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 9:51 am
Location: Veksø Sj., Denmark

HDD Password issues

#1 Post by Christian » Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:12 am

Hi there,

After struggling with sound issues I decided to fully update my W510 which also included a BIOS upgrade. This failed and left my computer in a state that it cannot recover from. Thankfully I have onsite warranty on the machine so tomorrow Lenovo will be changing the motherboard.

To protect my data I have put bios password and HDD password on both the first and the second drive.

This is all good until today when the W510 didn't startup. I took the 2nd harddrive and put in another caddy and placed it in my wife's T60. When prompted for the HD password i typed the usual password but it wouldn't unlock. After two tries I have to restart. I checked and rechecked that I typed the correct password but it didn't unlock.

I also have an 80GB Intel SSD from my old T61P which I have tried to unlock using another PC and I thought I had forgotten the password but now I'm not so sure. Does Thinkpads encrypt the password i type and thereby make it personal on the workstation it set on? If that is the case - if they change my motherboard then both my disks are ready to put in the bin!?! I certainly does not hope so.

Please can anyone let me know if I am doing anything wrong and how I might get my data back?

It's a 128GB Toshiba SSD and a 320GB 7200RPM Seagate disk.

/Christian
Thinkpad W510, i7 720QM, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD+1TB HDD, 9-cell battery, homepage

ausmike
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:16 am
Location: ~ 3Million Mile Club Member~~

Re: HDD Password issues

#2 Post by ausmike » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:51 pm

Hi Chris*;
Sorry to hear about your W510. I am NO expert but over last several years of constantly using HD+ BOOT+ Supvisor password in various (nearly all models of) thinkpads , I have got to remember a few tips and tricks.......only cause the LOCAL IBM/LENOVO tech support = IMHO hopeless at this section.....

I am suprised that the HOME VISTING TECH person didnt ask you to REMOVE THE HD; BOOT ANd SUPERVISOR paswords from the laptop BEFORE HE STARTED WORKING ON IT !! I am not sure if you forgoten your password and or got them INCORRECT. As far as W5xx series goes they have the NEWER TPM module (used in BIOS) for HD encryp'tion - and than that "data" is STORED on both the ACTAUL HD + BIOS Erpom. This means YOU NEED BOTH to be MATCH before they will UNLOCK. To make maters worse - I bet you are using a NON ENGLIDH keyboard! - often the they make a huge differance in my experaince!!

You case might be further complicated by using a TPM ( think you said from t61) which might be the OLDER VERSION and thus make that machine IMPOSSIBLE to de-crypt that password.

So here are a few step you can try: ( with care and please do these one at a time)
via a new HD drive - with normal windows installed
STAGE I
1) remove ( delete ) all passwords from BIOS and reboot to win7 desktop
2) remove any FP reader passwords - delete them via FP apps and reboot to win desktop
3) UPDATE BIOS - redo the update of lst bios version you have (in case its not the latest one - please UPDATE to the level/version of BIOS you had BEFORE the mother/system board changeover) MUST BE SURE OF VERSION if you have the same version as LAST motherbaord , than just run thru again the SAME VERSION of bios updates - ie overwrite the bios

STAGE II
NOW SWAP the HARD HRIVE to the one you had before ( one giving troubles
a) ADD POP ( power on password ) in BIOS - make sure its the SAME as what you had BEFORE you started having issues. note - NO SUPERVISOR password yet!
b) after reboot , now add the SUPERVISOR password , and reboot
c) Now add HD password , SAME AS WHAT YOU HAD BEFORE

Know these steps might seem crazy , but I have tried these and it ALWAYS worked for me. as the most important thing to remember , the TWO SETS ON PASSWORD HAVE TO and MUST MATCH - the hard drive stored password, and bios -eprom stored password.

side note: try and use the SAME EXECT SAME SET of other hardware you used BEFORE; ie any external keyboard and or ultrabay drives - secondary drives etc etc .

cheers
Work: None - Retired ! Yipee!! ~~Older/Hm use:Asus Zenbook i7FHD~~ w701ds CTO;W520cto;T61P-IPSmodels; T43P,...&700Tstill going strong!! DEC Alpha Series OS: Win7x64; OSX; SuSe Linux; RedHat~~

Christian
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 9:51 am
Location: Veksø Sj., Denmark

Re: HDD Password issues

#3 Post by Christian » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:34 pm

Hi,

Thank you for your thoughts on this.

The repair man came to day to exchange the faulty motherboard but brougt a motherboard for a T4xx. Great! He'll be back monday with the correct one. So much for NBD! :-(

The password is only 5 characters long and consist of normal english characters so my Danish keyboard shouldn't give me problems.

I don't expect to salvage the 80GB Intel drive but only the Toshiba 128GB SSD and the Seagate 320GB drive which were in the W510 when it decided to never boot again. Your stages might seems like a plausible solution. I will definately try it out once they change the motherboard. I really hope the bios level is the same because I think I have flashed the BIOS for the last time :-(.

I actually didn't have any supervisor password. Only power on password and HDD password on the two disks. The internal and the drivebay one.

I will get back to you on this as wether it works or not. :-)

Thanks again.

/Christian
Thinkpad W510, i7 720QM, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD+1TB HDD, 9-cell battery, homepage

ausmike
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Re: HDD Password issues

#4 Post by ausmike » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:04 am


Hello Christian ;

here is a post from Lenovo Community forum;
<copy and pasted from there for you referance>
I resolved this exact issue on an X201, and I hope this helps others with other Lenovo models. The problem is related to the format in which the password is saved in the drive. On the X201, there is a "Use Passphrase" option under passwords which may either be enabled or disabled. If it is enabled, it causes all passwords, including the hard-drive password, to be saved in a more secure format. If this setting is shows as disabled and the HD password was saved with it enabled, then you will run into this issue. I believe this problem is caused by removing the drive and then toggling the "Use Passphrase setting," and then re-inserting the drive. In a nutshell, that is what caused it for me.



In addition to a greyed-out "User" HD password, the "Use Passphrase was also greyed-out.

Without further ado, here is the solution:



1. Remove the drive from the laptop

2. Power up the laptop and go into the bios

3. If there are any other bios related passwords set, remove them.

4. Now, you should be able to toggle the "Use Passphrase" setting. If it is enabled then disable it, and if it is disabled, then enable it.

5. Save changes and exit.

6. Power down, re-insert the drive, and go back into the bios. You should now be able to make whatever changes you want to the HD password setting.


%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Thank you! Thank you! and Thank you! If you worked by me I'd buy you lunch. Your fix worked like a charm.


Crucial M225 64GB SSD

Lenovo T61

Password was mangled apparently by the "use passphrase" setting, and after I disabled the setting without the SSD in the bay, I was able to get back in and remove the password. Strange thing is, I don't recall ever playing with that setting. It makes me nervous to even bother with the ATA password, since I'm using PGP Whole Disk Encryption anyway, I'll probably just set a BIOS (not HD) password to slow down casual thievery, then rely on PGP WDE for the real security of the drive. After all, it's the data we care about, not the hardware.

I'll pass your fix around, starting with the post on the Crucial site.
Hope this is helpfull

Cheers
Work: None - Retired ! Yipee!! ~~Older/Hm use:Asus Zenbook i7FHD~~ w701ds CTO;W520cto;T61P-IPSmodels; T43P,...&700Tstill going strong!! DEC Alpha Series OS: Win7x64; OSX; SuSe Linux; RedHat~~

Christian
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 9:51 am
Location: Veksø Sj., Denmark

Re: HDD Password issues

#5 Post by Christian » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:00 pm

Thank you very much for your help.

Today the motherboard was replaced and passphrase was already set when booting and I was able to insert the password and unlock the drive. I also put took my old 80GB SSD. Booted into BIOS and was able to unlock this drive. It really has something to do with version. The T60 has passphrases as well but the algorithms are apparrently not the same as T61(p) and newer Thinkpads.

I really learned a lot on this and will now disable passphrase now and in the future. I like having a secure system but I also prefer to sleep at night. :-)

oh.... and flashed the BIOS to the newest level using a Boot CD and it worked out fine. Phew!

/Christian - the nightmare is over :-)
Thinkpad W510, i7 720QM, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD+1TB HDD, 9-cell battery, homepage

ausmike
Senior Member
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Posts: 977
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:16 am
Location: ~ 3Million Mile Club Member~~

Re: HDD Password issues

#6 Post by ausmike » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:10 pm

hiya /Christian ;

Glad things are working for you. Good luck

Side note : I have used 'lots' of SSDs over last few years. I WAS lucky enough to be one of few FIRST - in SSD FAILURES also !!
thus some tips -
1) i wouldnt recommend using 'hd password' with SSD.
my SSD just dieed one day!!! for som reason it died while being powered off and as I travel alot , its often painfull to try and recover data when away from business trips. yes I was lucky enough to have the "clone/copy' in my Ultrabay(2nd HD = normal drive)

2)As you have found out - its NOT OFTEN EASY to 'transport SSD' to a newer more modern system. YOU CAN EASILY do that ( simply add the existing HD ) to any NEWER model of laptop (within reason) and it will work!! eg when I had my W510 and got newer W520 - I jsut swapped the HD , and it works like a charm!!! ( with few driver updates etc etc)
HD PASSWORD(s) when present - huge pain - and often very frustrating and like = lots of sleepless nights - NO DATA = no life <lol>

3) IF HD DTA security is needed - I would use 3rd party encry apps - lots of very GOOD apps around , some even recommended by IBM!!!
Since you a IBM reseller - am sure you can easily get those - cheap!
(also see PM sent)
Hope these are helpful. Good luck with your business - great webpage - easy read! (pity I dont understand much of that lingo! lol>


Cheers
Last edited by ausmike on Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Work: None - Retired ! Yipee!! ~~Older/Hm use:Asus Zenbook i7FHD~~ w701ds CTO;W520cto;T61P-IPSmodels; T43P,...&700Tstill going strong!! DEC Alpha Series OS: Win7x64; OSX; SuSe Linux; RedHat~~

Christian
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 9:51 am
Location: Veksø Sj., Denmark

Re: HDD Password issues

#7 Post by Christian » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:49 am

I have definately had a wakeup call on this one. I never saw it as an issue before and have always kept my HD password short and simple but this passphrase thing and the 3-4 days where I coundn't reach my data was a pain. I always liked the idea that one-one would able to reuse my disks if they were stolen and the fact that software encrypted volumes are still more and more popular I feel that if something should go wrong on parts of the disk would this eventually mean that everything would be lost?

I bought this laptop mostly because I needed a laptop that would be able to run VMware Workstation properly and would like to have it all with me when i'm not in the office so I have lots of "virtual hardware" to backup but I will definately back everything up on a much more regular base from now.

Again thanks for your thougths on this. I really appreciate this.

/Christian
Thinkpad W510, i7 720QM, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD+1TB HDD, 9-cell battery, homepage

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