07-16-2010 01:56 PM
I switched to an Intel X18-M SSD on my X301 some time ago. I noticed that the new BIOS was released with Secure Erase functionality some time ago. As I was going to rebuild my laptop today, I thought I would give it a go. Turns out that this was a mistake. The utility failed on the Intel SSD necessitating a reboot after running for six hours. After the reboot, it turns out that the utility has set a hard drive password on the disk (there was not one before). As I have no way to know what password it has set, I am effectively locked out of my drive and it's a brick to all intents and purposes.
Does anyone (Lenovo in particular) know what password is set during the running of the Secure Erase functionality of the latest BIOS? My only alternative is to find out if there is a default master password from Intel. Since in principle, this should be blank, I believe that I am scuppered unless someone in Lenovo can tell me what password they set using the utility.
Thanks in advance.
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07-16-2010 02:28 PM
wibbler, welcome to the forum,
there are no default passwords which are set by Lenovo. Which buttons are you pressing at startup which require a password?
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07-17-2010 03:21 AM
From the instructions at http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?sitestyle=lenovo&lndocid=MIGR-68369:
As I did not have a HDD password set, I did not see step 9.
The utility is intended to perform a secure erase of a SSD using the ATA command set. In order to achieve this, it must first set a password on the drive (which is why it requires the user tell it the pwd if none has been set - see the end of this post for detailed documentation of this requirement).
In normal operation, the password would be cleared at completion of the operation. Because the operation failed however, the password is currently still there. Since I do not know what it is, I have been locked out of the (very expensive) drive.
In other tools which perform a secure erase (such as HDDERASE.EXE), the password which is set is documented for situations like this. This is not a security issue, rather it is one of following the correct process as laid down by the ATA standard.
It may well be that Lenovo has used a randomly generated password, in which case they have bricked my drive. If not, and a 'default' password is in use, then there is a means to recover the drive if they would document it. Since this is not a security issue, it really shouldn't be a problem. Furthermore, since the password was set without my consent, the security issue is mine since the utility has effectively executed a denial of service on me.
See here for details of the ATA secure erase protocols to understand how the password is used:
The relevant section which explains why the Lenovo utility does this is:
"To successfully issue an ATA Security Erase command you need to first set a user password."
This is what the utility has done and by not subsequently removing it, has denied me access to my drive.
07-17-2010 05:19 AM
The utility failed on the Intel SSD necessitating a reboot after running for six hours.
did you induce the reboot or was it automatically rebooted after showing a failure message? if you didn't let the utility finish then it wouldn't have had the opportunity to remove the password. as i understand it the password is randomly generated during the process.
07-22-2010 11:23 PM
Apologies for disappearing for a while, I've been travelling back from holiday (yes - I rebuild laptops while on holiday).
I don't have the drive with me at work today but I'll post the model, build date and firmware (stock) when I get home tonight.
07-24-2010 03:04 AM - last edited on 07-24-2010 03:48 AM by andyP
Model: SSDSA1MH080G1Gn 1.8"
FW: 8610 (I believe the drive is stock as I did not upgrade it. This is the version on the label)
There is no build date on the drive itself.
Moderator Note; s/n edited for members own protection