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Old 01-25-2010, 02:42 PM
OnSiteSolutions OnSiteSolutions is offline
 
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Default Virus caused ATA Password lock? Help!

Hello Forum. A customer dropped off an Acer laptop that he claimed had a virus. I wasn't at the shop at the time so I didn't get to start it up with him present. Customer described a fake-antivirus type of infection that he claimed he had deleted, however the result for the XP machine was a logon logoff loop. I said no problem we'll fix it right up. Well, no so simple...

When I first booted the machine, I was met with a bios level password, so I called the customer. He said he had never had any type of password on the machine, but told me the password he uses for everything. Well, password didn't work, but I was able to remove the cmos battery and clear this password.

So after successful bios, another problem, ATA password is set. Computer will not go past bios unless correct ATA password "Enter HDD Password" is entered. Oh No!

I am in a bind since the computer wasn't asking for this password last time the customer used it, and it sems through searching there is no way around the ATA lock. Acer is no help, says they can only fix it if I send it in.
Also, there are services that claim they can unlock the HDD, however such services are expensive.

I found information stating the password might be SEAGATE, or Seagate+25 spaces, etc, and none of this works. I believe the HDD is irrepairably locked.

I have to assume that the infection somehow locked up the system, both bios and HDD, however I can find no other reports of such.

Additionally, the drive is not accessible from another PC, since the drive lock is in the drive firmware.

If anyone has ever had a similar event, or has any suggestions on how to deal with the customer, what to tell him, or what to do about the HD lock, I am all ears. I have never had anything like this happen, and the only way I can fix it will cost more than the PC is worth (new hdd+ new os).

Lastly, the customer is a friend and associate, and I 100% believe it was not asking for a password before I got the PC. Just my bad luck today.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:56 PM
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I've never heard of this happening, but literally, *whenever* I see a computer that has a BIOS password the customer claims they never put it on
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:26 PM
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I will say the same, computers don't put passwords on everything on their own.

That being said, these people claim to be able to do it over the internet for $50
http://www.hdd-tools.com/products/rrs/licenses/
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Old 01-25-2010, 04:49 PM
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Every time I get a laptop with a BIOS password and the person claims they didn't put it on there is usually looks like a shady person that would have stolen the laptop.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:39 PM
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I've had the issue before from a client that I knew the laptop was his because I bought it for him. I'm not sure what the cause was but after I changed his DVD drive it started asking me for the ATA password for the HD. I searched high and low and never found a workaround. The only 2 options I found were to send it to the manufacturer or replace the hard drive. The client had nothing of importance on his HD so we just replaced it with a new one. As to what caused it to start asking for the password I will never know, all I do know is it stinks. It was a Toshiba Qosmio if I remember correctly.
If you do find a solution that works please let us know as I'm sure we could all benefit from it at some point in the future.
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:21 PM
OnSiteSolutions OnSiteSolutions is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgenoise View Post
I've had the issue before from a client that I knew the laptop was his because I bought it for him. I'm not sure what the cause was but after I changed his DVD drive it started asking me for the ATA password for the HD. I searched high and low and never found a workaround. The only 2 options I found were to send it to the manufacturer or replace the hard drive. The client had nothing of importance on his HD so we just replaced it with a new one. As to what caused it to start asking for the password I will never know, all I do know is it stinks. It was a Toshiba Qosmio if I remember correctly.
If you do find a solution that works please let us know as I'm sure we could all benefit from it at some point in the future.
Thanks, I know this laptop isn't stolen as other have suggested. I stated in my first post the customer is a friend, and I remember when he bought the computer. I also know, contrary to others posts, that he did not set a password.

I found a guy in a hard drive forum who was able to generate and unlock code based on the system hash code. The unlock code WORKED, and all data is intact.

The PC was infected with Antivirus2010.
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Old 01-27-2010, 03:38 PM
georgenoise georgenoise is offline
 
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What forum was it for reference?
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Old 01-27-2010, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OnSiteSolutions View Post
Thanks, I know this laptop isn't stolen as other have suggested. I stated in my first post the customer is a friend, and I remember when he bought the computer. I also know, contrary to others posts, that he did not set a password.

I found a guy in a hard drive forum who was able to generate and unlock code based on the system hash code. The unlock code WORKED, and all data is intact.

The PC was infected with Antivirus2010.
Wow that is interesting, never heard of this happening before. Thanks for sharing. What forum was it?
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Old 01-27-2010, 06:28 PM
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The forum was http://forum.hddguru.com/ and there I found a reference to http://www.acersnoop.co.cc/ where Rahim Daud was able to generate the password for 10$ paypal.
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:54 PM
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Default Wow!

Yeah we had an Acer Laptop, one of the student brought it in and it had the very same HDD lock! He didn't not know how it got on but I do remember he reset the bios before it all happend! Acer offered to remove it for a substantial sum of money.

Good Post! Wish I saw this before my friend got rid of the laptop. I think Acer has a glitch in the bios that they are using to nickel and dime end users.
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