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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)

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Why the downvote? Please explain? –  John Dec 26 '12 at 4:15
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Ok, well Gateway's BIOS still sucks for limiting the password to eight characters, but I did fix it. First, I plugged the drive into a different computer, and I was able to boot because that BIOS did allow me to enter the complete password. Next, I tried to unlock the drive, which worked. But, back at the Gateway it still wanted a password. More digging and back to the other computer with the drive... Turns out I needed to send this command to the HDD in Fedora:

$ sudo hdparm --user-master u --security-unlock p /dev/sdx
$ sudo hdparm --user-master u --security-disable p /dev/sdx

Key here is I needed to unlock and disable security.

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