So, I was trying to wipe my HDD on a Gateway T-1628 laptop. I was in a Fedora Linux 17 live disk and I found a command from the repository called hdparm. Here's an example similar to the tutorial I followed
The wipe command used the HDD's firmware to wipe itself. I tried to run the command to wipe the drive and the command failed with an I/O error. So, I used a regular wipe utility, which worked but took longer, and I installed Fedora on the drive.
When I went to reboot, it prompted me for a HDD password. Fine, I know the password, right? Wrong. Gateway's boot firmware only allows me to enter a password that's up to eight characters long, my password that I set from Linux was longer...
...So I popped the HDD into another computer, which was able to enter the longer password. I then unfroze the HDD (see the link above).
Finally, I popped the drive back into the laptop. Now, at this point, the drive no longer has a password on it and should boot normally. But the laptop still wanted a password! (the HDD didn't do this anymore on the other computer, only the Gateway).
So I'm thinking that my BIOS is somehow confused. How can I get the BIOS to forget that it needs a HDD password?
(one potential complication: while the HDD is installed, I can't get to the boot menu. I can only boot to CD or USB if I remove the drive)