HDD Password Frozen help..

Home built / HOME BUILT
September 10, 2009 at 08:07:39
Specs: Windows XP pro, AMD 2400+ / 1 Gig
Hi all. hey I have searched on here for HDD password frozen issues but I don’t see mine addressed so I am asking this. I have a Toshiba Satellite A-105.. and recently when I go to boot up my laptop. I will get to the Black XP loading screen with the progress bar at the bottom.. and you see the bar moving. And then in a quick half second flash. You will see some sort of message pop up (I am never able to see what it says) and then the PC reboots. And then will take you to the Boot up Menu where you can select the sign into Windows Normally.. boot into Safe Mode.. etc… no matter what you select. Even safe mode. You see it start to boot up into that mode. And then it just restarts again. after a bit I went into the Bios and under the Security Heading. It had a field saying HDD User Password Frozen. .. I was online reading how to reset that. And what I did is this. I turned the laptop off. Pulled the Hard Drive out and booted up the laptop again.. and went into the bios.. and reset the Bios to ALL defaults. And saved and exited. Then I powered the laptop off and put the HD back in and booted up again and when I went into the Bios. It then showed the HDD password section freed up to where I could enter a new password. I input the same password that had been in there before. And saved and exited and let it boot up and the same thing happens again and again. when I go back into the Bios it shows the Password is frozen again. .. does anyone have any idea what is causing the trouble?? Any help would be appreciated ..

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September 10, 2009 at 10:27:58
If you have an old laptop model (older than about ten years) , the info about how to remove passwords is in the Owner's manual for the model, or sometimes in the Service or Maintenance manual for the model.

The security situation regarding passwords on modern laptops (those less than about ten years old) is different from that for older laptops and for desktop computers.

The info about whether the hard drive access requires a password and the password if one has been used is stored on BOTH
- a chip soldered into the mboard that is NOT the bios chip, and the user data contents on that chip cannot be erased or set to defaults by removing the main battery and/or the cmos battery for the laptop.
- on the hard drive itself in a data area that is not accessible by any normally available software.

The password / access to the hard drive can only be removed or disabled, at most, if the hard drive is installed on one of a small group of laptop models made by the same maker at about the same time. If you install the passworded drive on a computer that has a bios that isn't compatible with the way the drive is protected, you can't remove the password from the hard drive, even if you know what it is.

Even if you manage to reset the bios (cmos) settings, or if you have someone replace the chip on the mboard with one already programmed that has no passwords enabled (expensive) , or you replace the mboard with one that has no passwords (probably the cheaper option if it's an older model) , the hard drive is still locked from you accessing it unless you use the proper password, on a computer that has a bios that is compatible with the way the drive is protected

Laptops are very easy to steal, and they are being sold all over all the time to other people.

I / we who answer have seen many posts / Topics before here or elsewhere where the person claims either.....
- they bought the laptop from someone else and the person they bought it from claims they don't know or don't remember the password. (It's extremely unlikely a person would forget a password they had to use every time they used the computer.)
- a password that previously worked no longer works.

Whether or not the person who presently has possesion of it is aware it was stolen or they stole it themselves, when they discover there is a password they need to find out how to remove, then they're extremely unlikely to state they stole it or that they know or they suspect it was stolen.

When I / we mention that or similar info, I / we often never hear from that person again, which makes me / us suspect the laptop WAS stolen.

If you ARE the legitimate owner and it WAS you who enabled the password for hard drive access on this same computer....

- NOTE that the case of the characters you type, and possibly whether certain keys are toggled on or off, is probably important - e.g. whether letters are upper or lower case letters; whether you have Caps Lock on or off; possibly whether Num Lock is on or off; etc.

- many laptops have non-standard keys that cause the keyboard to output characters that are not what you normally expect it to output - make sure any such keys are not toggled into the oddball mode. See the Owner's manual for your model.

- If you're absolutely sure you're using the correct password to access the hard drive, and you have the drive installed on the computer it was on when the password was enabled, the data stored on the hard drive regarding the password and it being locked from you accessing it has probably been damaged.
In that case, you probably must replace the hard drive with one that has no password / drive access lock.

- you MAY be able to get help regarding your problem if you contact Toshiba and provide sufficient info to them that proves you are the legitimate owner. However, sometimes that's not possible in any case, or they will not do that unless you're the original owner.

- you MAY be able to find experts on the web or locally that can remove the password for a fee, but that's extremely unlikely these days for modern laptops. Software found on the web that works for removing passwords on old laptops does not work on modern laptops.

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September 10, 2009 at 11:37:57
yeah i am the legitimate owner of this laptop and this laptop is only a few years old max. the one thing that did happen the other day was i was in XP on it and suddenly things started slowing down and locking up. i finally had to just power down the laptop and it was THEN that i started getting this issue. so maybe i scrambled something or whatever. i may end up having to call toshiba and see what they can do. thanks for all the info...

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September 10, 2009 at 11:45:28
Try hitting the pause key at the right time to read the message that flashes by. Hit any key to restart the boot process.

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Related Solutions

September 10, 2009 at 12:55:20
Your problem, in theory, could be caused by hard drive being in the process of failing, but I've never heard of that happening.

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibilty, on another computer if you need to.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, normally, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another, but you can't fix a problem regarding data about the password or drive lock.

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