English Community

ThinkPad NotebooksThinkPad T400 / T500 and newer T series Laptops Knowledge Base

Can I place a password protected drive in an USB external enclosure to read it?


My Lenovo ThinkPad T510 experienced a system board failure the other day and so I shipped the laptop to Lenovo for repair under warranty.  Data security is important to me, and I have used the hard drive password feature to protect it.  


I have the FDE drive and would like to try to access the data on it while my ThinkPad is being repaired, however, unlike a non-encrypted drive, I cannot simply plug it into an external SATA>USB enclosure  as it requires a hard disk password that is normally entered on boot.


How can I access the drive without having another ThinkPad laptop to plug it into? I know the password to the drive, and have tried booting from it in other machines but to no avail.


Can this be done?



Install a hard disk password protected drive into a USB SATA enclosure won't work because there is no way to send the ATA security commands over USB.  While the ATA spec defines the security mechanism of FDE, the way that the password is hashed varies between manufacturers (and sometimes even between systems from the same manufacturer).


 The best / only option is to find another ThinkPad of the same/similar generation and install the drive into it as the primary drive.

Was this information helpful?

Yes No


Community Guidelines

Please review our Guidelines before posting.

Learn More

Check out current deals!

Go Shop