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IBM ThinkPad TravelStar Password-Locked Hard Drive?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by W1RC, Nov 13, 2005.

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  1. W1RC

    W1RC Thread Starter

    Nov 13, 2005
    I recently picked up a used IBM ThinkPad 390e with a busted screen at the MIT Flea Market in Cambridge MA. There is a 12.6 GB IBM TravelStar hard drive installed but it is locked with a password. Please note that this is not controlled by the BIOS or "Supervisor" passwords. I've already tried it on a couple of ThinkPads I own that do not have either of these passwords enabled. I get an icon with a cylinder and a lock asking for a password.

    According to the IBM Hardware Maintenance Manual a hard drive that is password-locked cannot be accessed if the password is not known. There is no way to recover the password. I understand that the password is written to one of the boot sectors on the drive but an attempt to simply format the disk or delete all the partitions (even under DOS) were unsuccessful.

    I am wondering if there is a way to completely erase the drive and remove the password so it may be used again. I have absolutely no interest in knowing what is currently on the drive; I could sure use this drive if I can figure out a way to format and partition it. I understand there's a way to over-write the entire drive with zeros using Knoppix or Tom's Root Boot Kit but I am not familiar with these tools.

    Does anyone on here have any experience with this kind of situation?


    Michael, W1RC
  2. kiwiguy


    Aug 17, 2003
    From what I have learnt, the drive is totally unuseable without the password. Its a very secure method of data protection.

    Only a replacement hard drive will allow use of the laptop.
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