What I have tried so far:
- Connect SATA/usb adapter but windows couldn't display the drive.
- Booting with Ubuntu live but couldn't mount the HDD within SATA/usb adapter.
- Direct plug the HDD in another laptop and try to boot with bootable USB but the HDD password prompt always pops up first.

  • Is the protection in the disk's BIOS What is dmesg reporting when you connect the disk? Is the MBR readable with dd or hexdump? – ott-- Mar 8 '15 at 19:12
  • I'm not sure what you mean "disk's BIOS", but the password is surely on the HDD. When I use "USB Format" I get device write-protected or somthing. – elsadek Mar 8 '15 at 19:34
  • There are drives that have actual hardware capabilities to set this up and in other cases it might be software that was installed on the drive. – Seth Nov 30 '16 at 8:02

If the harddisk is protected with the ATA security feature, you need to issue special ATA commands to erase it. Your USB-SATA bridge must pass through these commands, otherwise it won't work.

This article describes how to do a Secure Erase, under the condition you can set the master password (or know the master password).

If you don't know the exact ATA security status of the drive, smartctl -g security /dev/sda etc. will show it.

I don't know how to proceed if you've lost the password and can't set a master password.


First remove all partitions, then create a partition the OS you're going to use the drive in understands (this 2nd step can be done from the OS itself).

Once you create the partition, it should be possible to format the drive.

If you cannot remove partitions, use a live cd, such as Hiren's Boot CD which has partition managers that should do it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.