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Recover External Hard Drive Password


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#1
mattdawg8

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I purchased a used 160 GB Maxtor external HD (a BlackArmor model, Product number: 9HA2A2-500) from a friend. He had not made much use of it since purchasing it, but he put a password on it, with no hint, that he does not remember. Is there any way I can either recover this password, or clear it so that I can actually use the hard drive? I don't mind having to wipe it.

Also, when I select the hard drive in Windows Explorer, it currently says it has a 36 MB capacity, and there is a file called "launcher.exe" that I'm assuming I have to run to be able to use the drive. When I run that file, it asks for the password.

Some help would be great, thanks,

Matt
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#2
123Runner

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Lets see if we can get some info to try and figure this out.
What OS are you looking at the drive with?
How is the drive formatted? Fat16, Fat 32, NTFS?
Are you able to see the entire drive if you look at it in device manager?
Are you sure the entire drive is partitioned and formatted?

There are numerous limitations put on hard drive. These are due to formatting, bios limitations, jumpers on the drive, etc.
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#3
rshaffer61

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123Runner and mattdawg8 I have to inform you both of the following TOU policy.

Due to the fact that we cannot verify the truthfulness of your request, we cannot offer any other help to recover any passwords for any system or software installed on your (or anyone Else's) computer. You may very well be asking for legitimate help in a legitimate situation but we cannot be sure of this. For all we know you could be a child trying to get into a parent's account or worse, someone trying to gain access to information that you have been explicitly denied access to by someone of higher authority.

If you have any problems with this please contact a Moderator or an Admin...

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#4
123Runner

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rshaffer61 I would normally PM you on this, but I feel it needs to be in this post. My intention is to not break the password because that (I know) is against TOU. No where in my response was info about breaking the password or reference to the launcher program (whatever that is).
mattdawg8 had asked about drive limitation and possibly formatting it. That is what I was responding to. Because if he formats it, there will be no data unless he wants to pay really big bucks for recovery.

I do not feel that what I actually gave him was against TOU.
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#5
rshaffer61

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If the drive is seen in My computer then right click on it and format. This may or may not clear the password protection on the drive if it is in the memory of the enclosure or the firmware has it stored.
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#6
starjax

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It is not a very well known fact, but all hard disks have a very strong hardware password capability build in. This password is usually stored both in a chip on the HD controller (the printed circuit board on the hard disk) and on the hard disk itself in a special hidden sector.

Setting this password will make the hard disk completely unusable to anyone that doesn’t know it. And not only on your computer, but on any computer.

A lot of newer laptops will set the HD password together with the BIOS password, completely locking all the hardware.

The hard disk manufacturers are unable to unlock a password protected hard disk, as there aren’t any “secret” master passwords build into the firmware. Even swapping the controller of the password-protected hard disk with exactly the same controller from an unprotected HD will not remove the protection on most disks, as the password (together with most of the firmware) is also stored on the hard disk itself.

The only way of retrieving any files from a password protected hard disk without knowing the password is to send it to a data recovery company for unlocking, but not all data recovery companies could or would unlock a password protected HD.

In this time of rising identity theft, protecting your personal data by locking your hard disk with a password is indeed a good idea. The downside is that when the HD eventually malfunctions it will be harder or even impossible to retrieve any files from it. So, the first rule of using a computer applies here in full strength – “Your data is only as good as your latest backup”!
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#7
rshaffer61

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The problem is it is a used external drive and data is not important.
I don't know if it can be formatted per say with the files being password protected.
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#8
starjax

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See my previous post. Password is done via firmware on the hard drive controller with a "comparison" file on the hard drive. This allows you to boot to the hdd password utility. If dban doesn't work then the suggestions that we can offer end here, per our ToS.
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#9
rshaffer61

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Thank you Starjax. I hope it works :)
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#10
dsenette

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FWIW....90% of the time if it's an actual hard drive password and not a software lock (i.e. some junk software that just encrypts the files and not the drive...or makes an encrypted folder on the drive) then a format isn't going to work...as starjax stated....a true hard drive lock is MUCH deeper than software...the drive won't even mount to the OS for you to be able to format it...DBAN or otherwise
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#11
123Runner

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All you can do at this time is to attempt to run DBAN
It will security wipe the drive. If DBAN doesn't work, then there is nothing else that can be done.
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#12
rancelucifinil

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password is hard to recover, try to recover data in your external hard drive directly. like Diskgetor, you may recover files in it.
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