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Summary: My first-gen 80GB Intel X-25M SSD is password-protected and I don't know the password (see below for how I got in that position). So the BIOS asks for the password at boot, but since I don't have it, it never mounts the drive, so I can't use hdparm with it (which is how I got into this trouble, so it might help me get out). I don't need the data on the drive, but I would like to be able to use it again. Any ideas? I'm even willing to take the cover off of it and yank signals high or low if there's some sort of hardware "factory format" option.

Background: I was going to reinstall an OS on the drive, so I ran hdparm to do a secure-erase (which brings I/O performance back up to near original speeds) as I had successfully done with two of these drives several times before. Unfortunately, this time I had attached the drive through a SATA<->USB adapter (previously I had always connected directly to my motherboard SATA), and apparently USB adapters don't pass all the ioctl commands, or they corrupt them, or something. Because right after I password-protected the drive (the step immediately before the secure-erase, which formats the drive and removes the password protection), it wouldn't take the secure-erase command, so I rebooted to try again, severing the last link between me and the drive. Now I can't talk to it through USB or SATA interface - the USB interface never mounts the drive, and when I use the on-board SATA, the simple 4 letter password I entered with hdparm to password-protect it doesn't work when the bios asks for the password.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Is this your issue?

If a BIOS drive password is enabled and then either disabled or changed, followed by a power cycle, the system may become inoperable. This does not apply for computer, network, or operating system password.

If it is, then there could be a known issue with your drive, look here

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I did contact Intel support (via live chat) when this happened a few months ago, and the person I talked to was useless - not knowledgeable at all. But you prompted me to call them again and talk to a human this time, and it looks more promising. Thanks, Tog. – Fred Hamilton Mar 16 '11 at 17:38
I forgot to mention above that the Intel support person told me it was not covered underwarranty, and I was on my own - that's why I turned to superuser for ideas. However when I called after you suggested, I talked to two much more reasonable people, and today I got the RMA number for a replacement (gen 2!) drive! So I guess I just needed a push - thanks again Tog! – Fred Hamilton Mar 17 '11 at 15:50

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