Laptop will not boot, needs HD0 password

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gutie

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I have a Gateway Laptop model 9550 with Windows 98. A friend of mine bought it at a swap meet. Not even 2 weeks after he picked it up the computer is locked up. When he turns it on, it is asking for a HD0 password. I have tried getting into the BIOS, but that is password protected also. I am lost for fixes for this one. Anyone got any ideas how to get it going?
 

gutie

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No, he didn't set the password, whoever had the PC before must have and didn't remove it before selling it. Got any suggestions?
 
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I would remove the cmos battery from the motherboard to clear the bios password first.
When you say the HDO has a password as well do you mean when windows is booting up ?
 

gutie

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When the power is turned on the PC give system information(processor speed and type) and memory check, as soon as that is complete, it then goes to a black screen with a blue dialog box "Enter HD0 Password". I haven't removed the CMOS battery yet, but I will get to that later today.
 

gutie

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I was able to remove the cmos battery and can now get into the BIOS. Now I just need some help changing the password. Anyone got a clue how to get it done?
 
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You have successfully rid the system of the bios password. Now the other is an operating system password.
 

gutie

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Hello Mobo, No it doesn't attempt to boot 98 at all. As soon as it runs the system information, it immediately asks for a HD0 password. I got into the BIOS and tries to kill it there, but have to have the password before I can disable it. Any ideas???
 
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HDD passwords may be impossible to bypass or break apparently.
They are done at firmware level in the HDD or on a system sector on some laptops so even reformatting will not work.
Generally you can't reformat as you simply can't get access to the drive at all.

They are used for a reason (to protect data against theft) and therefore have a high degree of integrity. Even putting the drive in another PC will not work.

Short answer, you need the password or you need to buy another HDD.
 
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Kiwi: Since I haven't run into this before I wonder would a reformat as per powermax (low level) erase that data of passwords..Or if not that would a large magnet do the trick..
 

gutie

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Kiwi and Mobo,
This one is going to be up to you guys. I was at the point of just giving up and buying a new HDD for it and start over. I will wait to do that and see what you guys can come up with, send any ideas my way and I'll try it out.
Thanks for all your help.
 
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Hang tight. i'm a bit buisy now but will look into it a bit further in a little..
 
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Normal HDD passwords used in laptops are practically indestructible. I believe service agents have hardware solutions available, where proof of ownership is solid, but the cost may be high. The password is on the HDD, probably EEPROM in firmware but may also exist on system sectors so its effectively hardware locked. Also it may additionally be locked to a hash code from the BIOS to make it even harder if the drive is removed to another machine.

You cannot therefore LLF it as you simply cannot get any access to the drive without the password. You cannot format, update firmware, nothing. Even putting it in another PC will not work, the same issue will arise.

The password is there for a purpose and is a very robust mechanism, to protect the data. Either get a new HDD, get the password or pay $.

There is good info on Google but it takes a bit of searching.

I cannot easily believe someone would sell a PC in this manner, knowing it would be unuseable. Are you sure its kosher?
 
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