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Harddisk shown in bios but undetected by any bootable device

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by gunjangargnoida, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. gunjangargnoida

    gunjangargnoida Thread Starter

    Sep 15, 2019
    Hello everybody,

    I'm facing a very mysterious problem (to me, I mean). When I turn on my Dell Inspiron 3542 laptop, I'm being asked for the hdd password prior to the stage at which the laptop goes on to (try to) boot from the harddisk. The hdd password is saved on the harddisk (ofcourse!) and I think that this behavior of my laptop - of asking for the hdd password - suggests that the hard disk is being detected. I enter the password and the system accepts it (observation # 1 !). I think that this behavior of my laptop - of accepting the hdd password - confirms that the hard disk is being detected. But then, after it (tries to) boot from the harddisk, it tells me "Reboot and select proper boot device; or Insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key". I'm not (that big) a noob; I know what this means and I've seen it before on other PCs and I'd like to assert (that I very well believe) that all the bios setup settings are correct. If I boot the laptop from a bootable device (like the puppylinux pendrive - which has always been my alltime favorite) and I start a partitioning software (like GParted), then again no internal hard disk gets detected on my laptop by this partitioning software. Now comes the even more strange thing! If right after typing the hdd password after turning on my laptop, I press the F2 key (to enter the bios setup instead of letting the laptop attempt to boot), I see that "ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB (1000 GB)" gets displayed as the value for "Fixed HDD". Now comes a yet more strange thing. In the bios setup I see that there's no supervisor password set; and no user password set. This is expected - that is how it was! I also see that there's a hdd password set. If I try to change/remove the hdd password, I have to type the existing hdd password followd by the return key, and then, to change/remove the hdd password, I have to type this two times: 'the new password'/'nothing' followed by the return key. If I try to do this, what I do first is that I type the existing hdd password and then press enter. The system analyzes it (for God knows what?) for a very very long duration. In the end it tells me: "incorrect password" (observation # 2)!

    Are they not contradictory? Observations numbered 1 and 2?

    What's wrong here? Please, please, tell me it's not impossible to get all my data from the hard disk!!!

    Thanks (in advance)!

    Gunjan Garg,
    Noida, India.
    04:20 P.M. (IST)
  2. bassfisher6522


    Aug 8, 2008
    I really don't have an answer for you....but more of a question. Is there a reason you have a HDD password on it? If this is your personal laptop, I see no need for it. That said...can you access the bios and disable the HDD password and see if you can boot up.
  3. gunjangargnoida

    gunjangargnoida Thread Starter

    Sep 15, 2019
    Thanks for your question(s) and suggestion(s) bassfisher6522! What I've always known is that no one (even if he/she gets to grab my laptop and take out my hard disk using a screwdriver) can ever view my data and/or boot from my hard disk if I do these two things:

    1) set an HDD password (and never let anyone know it)
    2) encrypt the entire system using veracrypt, for instance, and never let anyone either know the encryption password or get access to the veracrypt rescue USB drive

    and this is the very reason I've always been doing both of these. So, yes, I think I have my own reason for setting an HDD password.

    I can access the bios, but when I try to disable the HDD password, I get told by the bios (after a somewhat unprecedented delay) that the HDD password is incorrect. The system verifies the HDD password as correct when I turn it on and enter the HDD password to proceed further.


    Gunjan Garg,
    Noida, India.
    06:11 P.M. (IST)
  4. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

    Jan 2, 2001
    It is very possible your hard disk has failed. The hard drive password is part of the drive controller and is not stored on the hard drive itself ie platters or ssd memory. That is why you are asked for a pw and the drive is not detected.
    Data you do not backup is data you do not care about AND you should expect to lose said data. ALL drives fail; it is only a question of when your drive will fail.
    It is not impossible to recover data however it is NOT cheap. Where I live a very basic data recovery starts at $200 or so plus the cost of an external drive to put the recovered data on ie you cannot recover to the same drive. The cost goes WAY up from there; $800~1000 or so to remove the platters and read those.

    You need at least two copies of important data files on different media; ie on another hard drive, on a NAS or external, etc.

    FWIW I keep five copies; one on the system drive, two copies on internal hard drives, one on a NAS, and one on an external drive that sits in my gun safe when not making an actual backup. If I lost all of those, it would have to be a very bad day.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
    SarahSims likes this.
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