Welcome to the Toshiba Support Forum, created for customers and enthusiasts to share knowledge, solve problems and discuss technology. To join the discussion, please login or register.
Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Set ATA harddisk password under Linux / Toshiba Satellite Pro U200

  1. Set ATA harddisk password under Linux / Toshiba Satellite Pro U200
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Sorry for the long post, but I want to be as precise as possible:

    I use a Toshiba Satellite Pro U200 under Linux (OpenSUSE) for a few years now. Works fine without problem up to now, even the fingerprint reader works. I erased and never used the preinstalled Windows XP.

    For security reasons, I now decided to set a ATA hard disk password in case the laptop is lost or stolen (changed disk for a Seagate Momentus 7200 FDE.2 SATA II disk with hardware full disk encryption).

    In order to get protection under the full disk encryption, I need to set a ATA password. When booting, the Bios should ask for the password, and unlock the disk only when the password is correct.

    My problem is: In the Toshiba laptop there is no way to set the ATA hard disk password directly in the bios (as it is possible in HP laptops, for example). Toshiba provides only one way to set the disk password, that is a Windows XP utility software (named "Assist"). But, I do not want to change the OS only in order to set this password.

    Therefore, I tried the linux instructions

    hdparm --user-master m --security-set-pass SecretMasterPassword /dev/sda
    hdparm --user-master u --security-set-pass SecretUserPassword /dev/sda

    which are used for setting ATA passwords. Indeed, at first this seems to work fine. The password is set and the drive gets locked.

    When I restart the Laptop, the Bios asks for the hard disk password, as it should do.

    But, It does not accept the SecretUserPassword entered before. The response is "wrong password", or similar.


    I have no doubt that the password was set correctly: I checked by rebooting the laptop via rescue DVD into linux, and unlocking the drive via

    hdparm --user-master u --security-unlock SecretUserPassword /dev/sda

    in order to use it. No problem, this works as supposed to. After unlocking, the disk is usable as normal. And, I also can disable the password via

    hdparm --user-master u --security-disable SecretUserPassword /dev/sda

    After disabling the password, the laptop boots normally again, but I have no password protection.

    When I reenable the password, the Toshiba bios again asks for the password when booting, but does not accept the (correct) password when entered.

    Does anyone have an explication for this behavior?

    Does the Toshiba bios somehow modify the password entered by the user, before it is passed on to the disk? I think this would not be conform to the ATA standard.

    Did anyone manage to set/change the ATA password in a way that the disk can be unlocked via the builtin Bios, without installing Windows XP and using Toshiba's "Assist" software?

    Thank you for reading this long post until here. Any response is welcome.


  2. Re: Set ATA harddisk password under Linux / Toshiba Satellite Pro U200

    As you probably know Linux is not supported by Toshiba and if you donít get some good advice here I recommend you to visit some Linux forums and try to discuss it with Linux specialists there.

  3. Re: Set ATA harddisk password under Linux / Toshiba Satellite Pro U200
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    thank you for your reply.

    In the meantime I found that the problem is not strictly Linux related:

    When I set the disk password with the DOS software ATAPW.EXE, I get the exact same behavior as described before: The drive is locked and can be unlocked by ATAPW.EXE (and also by Linux/hdparm). But the U200's bios (Ver 3.7, latest version available) asks for the password, but is not being able to unlock when the (correct) password is entered.

    Last try: I installed Windows XP from the recovery CD and tried it with the original Toshiba tools (TOSHIBA password utility TOSPU.EXE, Assist and Security Assist, updated to the latest versions). I was surprised, but did not find any way to set/unset the disk password either. I found options for setting/unsetting the System password etc, but not disk passwords.

    It seems that disk passwords are not supported by the Toshiba Satellite Pro U200.

    I gave it up and changed the notebook.


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts