Anonymous asked in Computers & InternetSecurity · 1 decade ago

How do I get rid of a Dell HDD password?

I turned on my Dell Inspiron 1501 after a month of not using it and it asked for a HHD password. Dell wont help me, I assume they think I stole the laptop. I have reset the BIOS and wiped the hard drive clean, yet it continues to ask for a password. Any suggestions? Or possible passwords? Anything would help.


I did not set the HDD password, it just appeared, i know this sounds bad, but thats what happened.

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It's not that Dell won't help you, they CAN'T help you. When you set a password on a laptop hard drive it's written both into non-volatile RAM on the drive's electronics and to a hidden sector on the drive platter(s). There is no way that it can be recovered as the drive manufacturers do not release the encryption algorithm that is used. Even replacing the board on the drive with one from an unlocked drive will not work as it will be written back to NV-RAM as soon as the drive is powered up.

    You, or someone with access to the laptop, had to have set the drive password. Unless or until you can remember the password, the drive is a paper weight for all intents and purposes.

    If the drive has critically important data on it and cost of recovery is no object, a data recovery service such as On-Track may be able to recover the data. In this case the drive has to be sent to them to be disassembled in a clean room so that they can make a sector-by-sector copy of the data to a new drive. The cost for that service will take your breath away.

    Pulling the BIOS battery as others have suggested won't work. The drive password does not depend upon battery backup for preservation.

    If you send it back to Dell, they'll just install a new drive and charge you for the work. You can buy a new drive and put it in yourself easily enough and for a lot less money. Most laptop drives are very easy to change.

    I used to work for IBM doing internal support. Once in a while we'd get a locked drive turned in usually by some sales toad who forgot his or her password. The standard response from the repair center was to verify that a password had been set and discard the drive if it had been. Then install a new drive, image it, and bill the business unit for the repair.

    Source(s): Network engineer.
  • Adrian
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It is in the firmware of the drive, no way around it without sending it back to vendor.

    If you set it, keep trying whatever passwords you usually use. I find it hard to believe you just happen to set a HDD password, by chance, the day you last used the laptop a month ago, and didn't use a "regular" password you normally use...

    Send the machine back to Dell, after all, you are the registered owner, they should be able to clear it up I think

  • 1 decade ago

    If you have the service tag number,Dell should help you.Go to the Dell site,go to support and look for live chat,those morons that you call don't know anything.

  • 1 decade ago

    take out the BIOS battery and leave it over night. Put it back in the next morning and see if that helps...

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