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Toshiba Satelite laptop not used for a long time, turned on but did not boot to windows xp. Console light read "HDDPassword=". Son-in-law says he removed battery and pluged in and still got the same response. what can we do?

The laptop is a 5105-S501.

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Clearing the BIOS settings is probably required here. Usually this is accomplished by setting a jumper on the motherboard, or removing a battery. However, this is not easy (and sometimes not possible) on a laptop - you could ask a service representative, or at least post a model number here so someone with more specific knowledge could answer. – user55325 May 5 '11 at 1:25
The laptop is a Toshiba Satelite 5105-S501. – Louise May 5 '11 at 2:24

It appears that the laptop has a hard drive password set via the ATA security features. This password is not part of the BIOS, it is actually stored by the hard disk itself.

Unfortunately, with a limited set of exceptions it is not possible to remove this password for security reasons. Depending on the specific drive model, it may be possible to bypass this security mechanism via default passwords (for example, you may be able to use a utility like atapwd to interact with the drive directly, and some bioses actually set a drive master password of all spaces).

However there is no general method to remove this password. Your best bet is to replace the hard disk, understanding that you should start the machine without a hard disk in it first to make sure that the hard drive security option is cleared in BIOS (some BIOS store the password outside the drive and will lock new hard drives inserted).

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