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Subject: Re: My fried harddisks

Re: My fried harddisks

From: Björn Stenberg <>
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2002 00:08:43 +0100 (CET)

Ok, the harddisk mystery is solved!

I have some good news, and I have some bad news:

- The good news is that the disks aren't broken, they are just locked.
- The bad news is that the keys are random bus data...

Vladimir Pantelic clued me into the solution. The 128th byte of the IDENTIFY
command response contains device lock information:

        unsigned short dlf; /* device lock function
                                         * 15:9 reserved
                                         * 8 security level 1:max 0:high
                                         * 7:6 reserved
                                         * 5 enhanced erase
                                         * 4 expire
                                         * 3 frozen
                                         * 2 locked
                                         * 1 en/disabled
                                         * 0 capability

Normal disks have only bit 0 set. My bad ones have bits 0,1,2 set...

I found Andre Hedrick (Linux ATA guru) on IRC and he said there is actually a
back-door to this lock mechanism, but of course he would quickly be hunted
down and shot if he disclosed it to people. (The Xbox, for instance, uses this
lock function to protect its' software.)

So, what I'll do is I'll contact the manufacturers and ask them (or hopefully
their local office) to unlock the drives for me. We'll see how that goes.

Received on 2002-01-23

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