BIOS Password on Thinkpad 600

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: Apr 22 2004
Posts: 379

I know there's a thread about Thinkpad passwords, but I found a rather PITA way around mine.

I was given a ThinkPad 600 with a password. After some research, I found a way to reset the power-on password: close the shorting pins located near the memory slots. This didn't help with the superuser password (the error 161 and 163 appear without a way to set the date and time).

This weekend I found another Thinkpad 600 in a pile of junked laptops. This was basically the motherboard, display, and shell. The CD, battery, hard disk and memory had been removed. On a whim I moved the drives and RAM from the password-protected model to the junked one. Surprisingly, I could set the date and time. There was no supervisor password on this one! Woohoo! My joy was mitigated with the fact that the hard disk had a password. Rats!

Currently I'm planning on placing the motherboard from the junked laptop into the working one. I would like to use the hard disk, but I could care less what was on it before. I only want to wipe the drive and start fresh. Connecting the drive to an external USB enclosure only causes the drive to attempt to spin up repeatedly due to the password protection.

Any suggestions on making the hard disk usable again?

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iamdigitalman's picture
Joined: Mar 2 2004
Posts: 629
have you tried a low level dr

have you tried a low level drive formatter? it takes a while, but it COMPLEATLY formats a disk by writing 1s and 0s in the entire drive. the best thing to do, is to take another computer, format a floppy, choosing the "make boot disk" option, which creates a disk with only on it. then, go get active@'s killdisk (google it, i'm to tired), and extract the contents to the floppy. boot from the floppy, and when you get the DOS prompt, type KILLDISK in all caps. it will take a minute, but then it starts the killdisk program. choose the hard drive (not the floppy), and follow the directions from there.

any problems, feel free to ask.

hope that helps.

-digital Wink

Joined: Apr 22 2004
Posts: 379
Just one teensie problem...

My Thinkpad 600 has no floppy drive.

While my ancient Thinkpad 760XD does have a floppy drive, I believe it is too old to understand the HD password. Also the password is in the drive's firmware.

It's worth a shot though.

Eudimorphodon's picture
Joined: Dec 21 2003
Posts: 1203

Apparently setting that password completely disables the read-write-ability of the disk. You might as well throw it out. Or stick it back in the password-protected Thinkpad and make a hobby out of mounting a manual dictionary attack against the supervisor password, as if you remove that chances are it'll be the same as the HD password.


Joined: Apr 22 2004
Posts: 379
Bad board

Well, I swapped out the motherboard on the laptop. Afterwards, I found out the other one was bad. Sad

With the original motherboard, it would give an error 161, then an error 163. Afterwards, it would go into BIOS and show those two error messages again with no other option than to turn the computer off. I can't attempt the supervisor password. I've given up on the laptop and hard disk - it's more trouble than it's worth.

Fortunately, I was given a Dell Inspiron 7500 by a guy I help out with repairs. After replacing the DVD-ROM drive with the CD-ROM drive from the Thinkpad, I'm installing Windows 2000 with some space left over for Linux. Much faster than the Thinkpad. Smile

dankephoto's picture
Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 1900
no kiddin'?

Firmware? Really? Or is it really in the driver written to disk? I've never heard of user password space in ATA drives' firmware. Anyone care to educate me?

Ok, I'm educating myself


Locking Cylinder

The so-called Security Feature Set is part of the ATA specifications [2]. It provides for two 32-byte passwords, the "User Password" and the "Master Password." In the event of a user having forgotten his or her password the latter functions as a second key allowing the computer administrator in a company to save the disk all the same. Both passwords can be set independently as any random sequence of bytes.

Okey dokey

dan k


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