I have been attempting to wipe and reinstall Mint Linux on a Dell XPS-13 ultrabook laptop. I like to completely obliterate data on the drive between installations, for security, and to start from scratch. Unfortunately I have gone and gotten my mSATA drive (a Crucial M500 480GB) into a pickle.
I used these instructions to add a password to the drive, which is a precondition for using a disk erase command. So, I did exactly this:
sudo hdparm --user-master u --security-set-pass foobar /dev/sda
I was about to issue the
--security-erase-enhanced command, and then I realised I was in an OS that relied on this drive (including swap space), so I decided to reboot to a copy of Linux Mint on a USB stick. Unfortunately, not continuing with the erase at this point was a mistake.
- am asked for an HDD password when I boot the computer, at the Dell/BIOS level
- have found the password set above, "foobar", does not work
- cannot use F2, F12 or escape to get to the BIOS before the HDD password is requested
- cannot boot from a USB stick
However, I have been able to physically remove the the mSATA drive, and then boot from a USB stick. So the computer works fine, it's just the drive that is failing.
I have read these posts:
These, and posts like them, indicate that one should try this or that command, but that is not possible for me - the ultrabook co-operates with the disk password lock so that I am locked out of the whole computer while the mSATA is in place. I cannot boot from another device.
I am certain I am getting the password correct, and it is not accepted. If I try three times it locks the computer up until it is rebooted. I do not believe that I can boot from USB and then insert the mSATA drive - it is not designed to be hot-plug like a USB drive, and I suspect that action would fry something.
There is some chatter around the web about finding master passwords for the drive (by brand and/or model) but I can't find anything for Crucial. It is not clear whether the BIOS is asking for a master or a user password.
I think the computer is fine, and I could just buy a new SSD drive. However, I suspect the existing one is fine, and I just need to know how to reset it. I don't want to keep the data on the drive, and indeed I want to do a complete reset.
What can I try next? I am willing to buy a USB mSATA caddy, but I have seen warnings around the web that hdparm commands can't be used over USB.