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Last reply by 07-04-2020 Solved
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Do I have to reset an HDD password in the BIOS prior to replacement of the drive?

I've removed my M.2 SATA SSD. I'm going to install the other one. Will the new drive be automatically locked with the old HDD password? I didn't reset it in the BIOS. (Latitude 5491)

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@.fever. wrote:
Thanks! But there was talk that the new drive will inherit the password of the old drive, if the password is not cleared from the system (BIOS, CMOS, ...). Under what circumstances is that the case, if at all?

@.fever.  that isn't correct.  The HDD password is stored on the drive itself.  If you install a new drive that doesn't have a password set, then the system will not automatically set one on it.  Conversely, if you remove a drive that does NOT have a password and install one that had a password set on some other system, then the system you just installed it into will start prompting you for an HDD password at boot, although as I said above, passwords set on one system might not work on another.


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3 Argentum

Hi fever,

The hard drive password is set in for the hard drive hence, removing the hard drive should not ask for password. However, if the system is TPM enabled, BitLocker will ask for a password. 

You have to disable the TPM and remove the hard drive.

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Does that mean that the system/BIOS stores the HDD password of the old drive (in TPM or somewhere else) and will not allow me to boot without that password even if the new drive does not have a password?

What will happen if I re-enable TPM later?


@.fever. wrote:

Does that mean that the system/BIOS stores the HDD password of the old drive (in TPM or somewhere else) and will not allow me to boot without that password even if the new drive does not have a password?

What will happen if I re-enable TPM later?


The password is stored on the HDD itself, but apparently the way it gets set can vary from system to system, so just because one system stored a password in a certain way doesn't mean that another system will work with it properly even if you supply the same password.  And again, HDD passwords prevent the drive from being used at all if you connect the drive via USB.

If you remove an HDD that has a password set and then install a new drive that doesn't have a password set, your system won't prompt you for an HDD password anymore, unless you set a new password on the new HDD.

In terms of the HDD password being stored on the system, that does appear to happen somehow, although I don't know the details.  The reason I say that is because if you set an HDD password on a system and forget it, then you can still change/remove it by providing the system's BIOS admin password as the current HDD password, instead of the actual current HDD password.  But that only works if you actually set the current HDD password from that system (and have a BIOS admin password defined).


Thanks! But there was talk that the new drive will inherit the password of the old drive, if the password is not cleared from the system (BIOS, CMOS, ...). Under what circumstances is that the case, if at all?


@.fever. wrote:
Thanks! But there was talk that the new drive will inherit the password of the old drive, if the password is not cleared from the system (BIOS, CMOS, ...). Under what circumstances is that the case, if at all?

@.fever.  that isn't correct.  The HDD password is stored on the drive itself.  If you install a new drive that doesn't have a password set, then the system will not automatically set one on it.  Conversely, if you remove a drive that does NOT have a password and install one that had a password set on some other system, then the system you just installed it into will start prompting you for an HDD password at boot, although as I said above, passwords set on one system might not work on another.


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7 Thorium

The HDD password will not automatically carry over, and you should remove the HDD password from the old drive using your current system because otherwise that drive might become unusable in any other system even if you have the correct password.  I've found that even with Dell's laptops, HDD passwords set on one system cannot be used in another.  I had a friend set an HDD password using his Latitude E7440.  His system later died, and when I installed his HDD into my XPS 15 9530 to try to recover the data, I received the HDD password prompt as expected, but it wouldn't accept the password.  I ended up having to borrow another Latitude E7440 from a different friend and install the SSD into that system for the password to be accepted.

HDD passwords also aren't a very good security mechanism because they can be removed or bypassed by people with the appropriate tools (which I didn't have).  If you're trying to protect your data, you should really consider encryption like BitLocker or VeraCrypt.  Even if you're using an SSD that has hardware encryption that gets activated with an HDD password, some security researchers who looked at a handful of Samsung and Crucial SSDs found serious flaws in the firmware implementation of that function that rendered the encryption practically useless from a security standpoint.  Here is one article about that.  Granted, they didn't look at a lot of SSD models, but they also found serious problems with 100% of the SSDs they did look at, which doesn't speak well of the others.  And again, if you ever need to recover data from your drive using a different system, it's much easier if you're using BitLocker or VeraCrypt than an HDD password.  In fact, HDD passwords make it impossible to recover data by connecting the drive through something like a USB adapter/enclosure, for example, because those don't have a way to prompt you to enter an HDD password at all.  Just a few things to consider.


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2 Bronze

It’s been a long time since this thread was updated- just asking a quick follow-up. Does the new SSD properly work without asking for the password? Thanks!

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