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Last reply by 09-02-2019 Unsolved
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Is it possible to set a password for a drive in the BIOS of modern Dell?

Is it possible to set a password for a drive in the BIOS of modern Dell?

In 2008, in my laptop of another manufacturer, it was possible to set a password in the bios not only to enter the bios, but also to the hard drive. And I did not worry about the loss of a laptop.
Now I want to buy DELL Vostro 3583, it has an SSD drive.
Is it possible to set a password on the SSD in the BIOS, so as not to worry about confidential data when losing a laptop?

 

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As of this writing, Dell systems only support setting HDD passwords on SATA HDDs and SSDs, not NVMe SSDs.  However, HDD passwords are a very bad way to secure your data anyway.  Even IF the HDD/SSD uses the HDD password as the basis for built-in hardware encryption, some security researchers took a look at a variety of those self-encrypting SSDs and found severe flaws in all of them, to the point that the "encryption" wasn't offering any protection at all.  Granted they didn't test every SSD ever made, but they also found problems with 100% of the SSDs they actually did test, which doesn't bode well.  An HDD password will also make things much more difficult if YOU ever need to recover data after your PC dies.  If you don't have an HDD password, you can just move the unit into an external enclosure or into any other system with the right connector and you're good to go.  With an HDD password, you can't use an external enclosure at all, and even if you install it into a system that supports HDD passwords overall, it might not work if you use a different system model for recovery.  A friend of mine had a Latitude E7440 with an HDD password and his system died.  I brought my XPS 15 9530 over to his house and installed his SSD into my system.  My system then prompted for an HDD password as expected, but it never accepted the password my friend was entering.  We tried multiple keyboards, etc.  I ended up having to go get my mother-in-law's laptop, since she also had the same Latitude E7440 model, and when we put the SSD into that system, the password was accepted and I was able to perform the data recovery.  But it was just pure luck that I had access to another identical system.

If you want proper protection, use something like BitLocker (if you have a Pro version of Windows) or VeraCrypt (a free and open source alternative if you don't.)  And if you use BitLocker, back up your Recovery Key somewhere that you'll be able to access without using a PC.  BitLocker defaults to using your system's TPM to store the decryption key so that you don't have to enter a password at every boot.  (The reason this is still fairly safe requires more explanation because it involves a TPM "platform integrity check" at every boot, and you absolutely need a strong Windows logon password in this setup.  And you can also optionally choose to have the system require a user-entered PIN at every startup for more security.)  Anyway, the result of the "password-less" default mode is that a surprising number of people never back up their Recovery Key because they don't need it every time they start their system.  And then something happens where they DO need it, and they don't have it -- at which point their data is effectively gone.


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