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I'm considering buying Crucial M500 SSD drive with SED (self-encrypting drive; ATA password, TCG Opal 2.0, eDrive compliant). I'd like to use its SED functionality, but even after reading a bunch of articles, I'm still puzzled about the exact requirements.

I have an older (2008) motherboard without the ATA password, UEFI and TPM functionality. This is, of course, non-compliant with eDrive specifications, so I'm not able to use Bitlocker. Same goes with the ATA password, since my mobo doesn't have such a feature (I don't want to use ATASX, as it lacks AHCI mode).

I set my sights on the SSD's Opal functionality then. I came across two software products (Wave Embassy and WinMagic) that are able to provide pre-boot authentication, but I don't understand what are their exact requirements. Do they make use of SED via Opal even without ATA password/UEFI/TPM enabled motherboard?

The computer will be running Windows 8.

Note: My goal is to enable basic encryption to protect the computer from common thieves. It's not going to be analyzed by NSA or people with mad skills in the field. With that said, I'm OK with using proprietary software.

  • Sounds like you should look into Truecrpyt – Ramhound Mar 7 '14 at 23:12
  • I believe the hardware has to support the OPAL spec. I have read conflicting reports whether window s8 actually supports OPAL or no. Have you considered bitlocker? – MikeAWood Mar 7 '14 at 23:16
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I was in same situation, I purchased Wave Embassy. Basically to access the Opal feature you need 3rd party software, after you install it it will allow you to lock your SSD with password. When youll boot your PC from full shutdown you will have a password screen to enter password to unlock your SSD, thats it. It works per full Boot, after you unlocked it once you can restart your PC it wont ask again, not until you turned it off. Its excatlly the same thing as SATA Password, just with program. To clear things up: This program doesn't encrypt anything, it access your hardware encryption and sets a password thats it, takes 30 seconds. You keep your original hardware encryption.

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What you need is sedutil. It allows managing TCG OPAL 2.0 encryption and provides pre-boot authorization images.

At the moment, this is the most versatile way to harness SEDs. It does not depend on specific BIOS/hardware features or proprietary software.

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