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I have a computer that a password appeared for the Hard drive, I have a Toshiba Satellite Pro, Model No. M15-S405. I called customer service and they want me to drive 200 miles so they can flash the BIOS. I know some friends who have jobs in circuitry so I was just going to take it to them. Flashing the BIOS can be pretty risky, so I wanted to try to just take out both the BIOS and hard drive batteries and try to let it reset. I am planning on re-imaging the computer so it's fine if I lose the information on the drive So:

  • Is there a way I can figure out the password for the hard drive?
  • Will pulling out the batteries not work or did Toshiba customer service just not think of it?
  • Is flashing the BIOS to risky to attempt or should I just take some precautions?
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closed as off topic by Kara Marfia Jun 8 '09 at 18:47

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4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Is the password on the HARD DRIVE, BIOS, or BOTH?

Some computers/laptops have a jumper you can short out to clear the BIOS password but some (laptops especially) do not.

  1. Hard drive - Not sure what to tell you on this one. Is the password a BIOS password or something like a TruCrypt password on the HDD?

  2. Pulling the CMOS battery rarely works... in fact, I'm trying to think of a time I've done it where it actually has. Maybe once or twice on a very old PC?

  3. Flashing the BIOS is pretty straight forward. Just make sure you have the CORRECT BIOS. You may also wish to back up the existing bios if your flash utility allows it.

When in doubt... go ahead and have a friend (with more experience) do it for you and show you how.

WORST case scenario (ie. final option), you make the 200mi drive and have Toshiba do it.

Hope this helps.

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Last time I called IBM on that they said that this is C2 level security, so basically no. The password, I believe, is stored on the drive itself so pulling batteries isn't going to do it for you. We ended up putting the disk through an electromagnet which sure did a job on the drive heads....

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Is there a way I can figure out the password for the hard drive?

While this might be technically possible, I doubt it's something you'd want to spend the money or time on. It's not easy and it requires a lot of technical experience.

Will pulling out the batteries not work or did Toshiba customer service just not think of it?

Yes, it's possible this will work. Toshiba customer service is probably not allowed to suggest to the customer something that requires them to open the laptop, so even if the tech thought of this, he might not have been able to say so. If you can easily locate the battery, give it a shot. The longer you leave the battery out, the better (a few hours to be extra safe).

Is flashing the BIOS to risky to attempt or should I just take some precautions?

Flashing the BIOS isn't that risky. As long as you're certain you're using the correct BIOS update and you follow the procedures (make sure you have the power supply plugged in!), it should go as planned. The most common causes for failure are using an incorrect BIOS update (i.e., a BIOS update for a different model laptop) or canceling the update while it's installing (for example if the battery dies, which is why you should always use a power supply when doing BIOS updates).

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Depending on what you mean:

If you mean a BIOS password then there should be a jumper located on the board. Remove it and restart the machine. It may even be labeled in tiny letters.

If you mean a password for the actual hard drive....I have googled for this info before for Dell Laptops. It seems there is something that you can run from a floppy that will let you bypass it.

Sorry this is so vague, but maybe it gives hope.

EDIT - just found this link, it claims to list some 'backdoor' passwords for BIOS

http://www.tech-faq.com/reset-bios-password.shtml

Good Luck

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Oh...its a laptop....there may not be a jumper... –  cop1152 Jun 8 '09 at 18:24

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