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What to do about Password protected SSD drive?

dbavaria Community Member
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I buy used computer hardware in bulk lots most of it comes from companies that are upgrading or shutting down. I recently came into possession of an Intel X25-V SSD that is password protected. The data on the drive is irrelevant to me and I would just like to do a format/partition and make the drive usable. Is this possible to do myself or would I have to send the drive to Intel? Anyone have any experience with this?

  • 1. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    DuckieHo Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    The data is encrypted so you will not be able to read it.  However, that should not prevent you from reformatting the drive.         

  • 2. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    dbavaria Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    If I understand correctly it is an ATA Password, the bios pops up a screen on boot asking for the drive's password (or the master password). When I connect it to a computer that has Windows it appears in the device manager but I can't access anything from it or query it for any config info.

  • 3. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    DuckieHo Community Member
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    Are you sure it is an ATA Password protected SSD and not just data encrypted?

     

    I am not aware of any unlock software that support SSDs yet.

  • 4. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    dbavaria Community Member
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    I'm pretty sure that its a ATA Password or whatever the "hard drive password" that you set from the bios is.

  • 5. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    Doc_SilverCreek Community Member
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    Have you tried deleteing the partition and reformating?

  • 6. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    dbavaria Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    There is a password prompt on boot, it appears to be the bios asking for the SSD's ATA Password. I don't have the password so when I ignore the prompt and boot into windows the drive is in a security locked state. This prevents Windows (or whatever OS) from initializing the drive/partitions and allowing me to do anything to the drive. I tried running the Intel SSD Toolbox, it recognizes the drive (just like Device Manager does) but secure erase fails. This is because the drive is security locked and is not accessible.

     

    Here is a section from wikipedia describing the ATA Password feature:

     

    The disk lock is a built-in security feature in the disk. It is part of the ATA specification, and thus not specific to any brand or device. The disk lock can be enabled and disabled by sending special ATA commands to the drive. If a disk is locked, it will refuse all access until it is unlocked.


    A disk always has two passwords: A User password and a Master password. Most disks support a Master Password Revision Code. Reportedly some disks can report if the Master password has been changed, or if it still the factory default. The revision code is word 92 in the IDENTIFY response. Reportedly on some disks a value of 0xFFFE means the Master password is unchanged. The standard does not distinguish this value.

    A disk can be locked in two modes: High security mode or Maximum security mode. Bit 8 in word 128 of the IDENTIFY response shows which mode the disk is in: 0 = High, 1 = Maximum.


    In High security mode, the disk can be unlocked with either the User or Master password, using the "SECURITY UNLOCK DEVICE" ATA command. There is an attempt limit, normally set to 5, after which the disk must be power cycled or hard-reset before unlocking can be attempted again. Also in High security mode the SECURITY ERASE UNIT command can be used with either the User or Master password.


    In Maximum security mode, the disk cannot be unlocked without the User password — the only way to get the disk back to a usable state is to issue the SECURITY ERASE PREPARE command, immediately followed by SECURITY ERASE UNIT. In Maximum security mode the SECURITY ERASE UNIT command requires the User password and will completely erase all data on the disk. The operation is slow, it may take longer than half an hour or more, depending on the size of the disk. (Word 89 in the IDENTIFY response indicates how long the operation will take.) [19]


    While the ATA disk lock is intended to be impossible to defeat without a valid password, there are workarounds to unlock a drive. Many data recovery companies offer unlocking services,[20] so while the disk lock will deter a casual attacker, it is not secure against a qualified adversary.

  • 7. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    Doc_SilverCreek Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    You might want to try a DOS based security erase comman like http://cmrr.ucsd.edu/people/Hughes/SecureErase.shtml

     

    Don't know if it will work or if it will brick the drive. 

  • 8. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    dbavaria Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    I've tried a few dos based hd tool suites but they all cannot perform any erase on a locked disk. For example here is a blurb from the ReadMe fror HDDErase:


    If selected drive is locked with a non-HDDerase password the user is given the
    option to:  1) unlock with user password,  2) unlock with master password (if high
    security), 3) secure erase with user password, 4) secure erase with master 
    password, 5) enhanced secure erase with user password (if supported), 6) enhanced 
    secure erase with master password (if supported).  If option 3, 4, 5 or 6 is 
    selected any possible HPA and/or DCO areas will not be reset.

    It would seem that I need either the User password or the Master password to erase/unlock the drive. 

    Perhaps I will have to send my drive into Intel so they can unlock it and secure erase it for me...
  • 9. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    zaq Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    to disable SSD code/lock

     

    USE HD erase version 3.3

    unplug power from the SSD but keep the data plugged in

    start PC and when you get to the

    A:/ prompt plug the SSD power back in

    and proceed as normal

    you should no longer see the security freeze

    I think only HDE 3.3 works with SSDs for some reason
    If anybody needs it and can't find it, PM me
  • 10. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    DuckieHo Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated
     
    Perhaps I will have to send my drive into Intel so they can unlock it and secure erase it for me...

    Intel does not support unlocking drives.

     

    Zaq posted a possible solution but it is at your own risk.

  • 11. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    dbavaria Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Is that a fact? It perplexes me how Intel would not support their own drives?

  • 12. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    Doc_SilverCreek Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    It would kind of defeat the purpose of a HDD security lock if the manufacture maintained a default password.

    Some one would figure it out & post it on the internet ....

  • 13. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    DuckieHo Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    There are also liability issues.... can anyone prove that they own the data on the drive?

  • 14. Re: What to do about Password protected SSD drive?
    zaq Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    The method I posted above to bypass the hard-drive password comes from the author of HDDerase itself.

    This will allow the program to proceed without knowing the password and thus perform a TOTAL secure erase of the SSD(or any hard-drive actually), but will not allow you to see or access the data on the drive. So this method does not defeat the encryption for this purpose.

    There is little to no risk to the harddrive itself, rather the risk is to the user itself from messing around with electrical connections if the user is not familiar with the internal workings of a typical PC.

    CIAO

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