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unlock password protected Lenovo SSD

 
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spec
Nou Venit


Joined: 05 Mar 2020
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 3:12 pm    Post subject: unlock password protected Lenovo SSD Reply with quote

Hello,

I have a password protected PM981 Samsung OEM NVMe SSD from an Lenovo Thinkpad with unknown password. I want to delete the harddrive so then i can reuse the SSD, the data on it are irrelevant.

I have tried to Secure Erase and PSID revert the drive with Partet Magic with no luck.

Maybe the drive is specially made for Lenovo and cannot erased with conventional software.

On the Lenovo website I found a special Erase Utility for their SSD's: https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/downloads/ds019026

The problem is that I cannot use the software because on boot up at first it appears a HDD password unlock prompt which block the whole laptop. I can reach the Bios only when the SSD is plugged out.

Is there any solution to prevent from the prompt so that I can use the erase utility?
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victor
S.F. Boss


Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 2491
Location: Staff

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You must know the password in order to erase the drive if the drive is really locked. i.e. ATA locked from BIOS.

Any drive in any laptop or desktop NEEDS the password for the following ATA commands:
Unlock
Disable Lock
Erase Disk
Read/Write

A drive has two type of password: Master and User.
The Master can only Erase the drive, the User can do anything.
The drive cannot have only the Master without the User and be locked. With other words, one may enroll a Master but this will not lock the drive until the User is also enrolled. Only the User locks it.
Many manufacturers used to have a secret Master recorded from factory and this gimmick has been used by some crackers to erase the hard drives but if the Master password has been enrolled by the End User then this will have no effect. However, by today standards, this practice is considered a serious security breach and is discontinued.

In a Lenovo laptop, after 2012 that has a TPM, the passwrod is hashed with SHA256 and then RSAed. Each laptop has a different TPM thus different result for the same password.
If you know the password but the laptop dies on you then the drive is lost. The only way to unlock that the drive is to have saved previously the recovery keys on a USB disk. Create this from recovery USB dick from Thinkvantage.
We can recover those keys from the original BIOS and port them to the BIOS of a new Lenovo laptop, just in case.

Final thoughts: Replace the drive and call it a day.
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Victor Voinea
ALLservice HQ, Romania.
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