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Wannabe Geek


Topic # 52562 4-Dec-2009 13:05
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We were burgled a few days ago and my laptop was stolen.

These people didn't seem too smart. My laptop was password protected (Acer on Vista)

Are you able to delete everything off the laptop without logging in? I doubt they'd know how to take a computer apart or rebuild.

Thanks for any help...

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 279338 4-Dec-2009 15:01
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You can reformat it using an OS cd without needing to know any passwords or anything. Just put the disk in when as the computer is booting and it will go straight to install mode.

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  Reply # 279340 4-Dec-2009 15:06
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Once someone has physical access to the machine then you password is worthless. If you used something like bitlocker then they would not be able to access the data protected with bitlocker but they can reinstall a new OS without needing your password are needing to access the inside of the laptop.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 279341 4-Dec-2009 15:09
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If it was a BIOS password it might be a bit harder for them to use the laptop. I'm not sure how many laptops have easy bios resets these days.

Your data should be fairly safe, unless someone really wants to get it off there.




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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 279344 4-Dec-2009 15:11
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There's also a few tools out there (UltimateBootCD is one of them) that can attempt to change your passwords by editing the registry of the windows machine before it loads windows, meaning someone can still get into the machine that way.

Unfortunately if someone has physical access to the machine there is no way to stop them from gaining access to data or wiping it for their own use.

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Master Geek


  Reply # 279470 5-Dec-2009 00:07
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Mot a silly question at all. If the thief/thieves have access to some hard drive adapters they can simply "take owmership" of your infotmation. That's kust a softeare term for getting access to secure files. Unless the drive is encrypted etc as mentioned above you information will be accessible.

I assume the aithorites have notified your laptop manufacturer of the theft? Its always handy to have your model # and serial # passed on to service agents etc in case the laptop gets taken in to be looked at...

Sorry to hear about the robbery :-(

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 280088 7-Dec-2009 19:00
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you can protect your data by using a hard disk password. This type of password is a function of the hard disk bios and very hard to by pass.

You are prompted to enter it at boot time and you cant even format the disk without entering the password.

This is different to a bios password. It can be bypassed but not easily.

Al

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  Reply # 280248 8-Dec-2009 08:26
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bigal_nz: you can protect your data by using a hard disk password. This type of password is a function of the hard disk bios and very hard to by pass.

You are prompted to enter it at boot time and you cant even format the disk without entering the password.

This is different to a bios password. It can be bypassed but not easily.

Al


However you have to be very careful with this method. If you motherboard fails you have lost access to all the data on that HDD.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 280260 8-Dec-2009 08:47
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Nety:
bigal_nz: you can protect your data by using a hard disk password. This type of password is a function of the hard disk bios and very hard to by pass.

You are prompted to enter it at boot time and you cant even format the disk without entering the password.

This is different to a bios password. It can be bypassed but not easily.

Al


However you have to be very careful with this method. If you motherboard fails you have lost access to all the data on that HDD.


Motherboard fails?? Eh - a Hard Disk password is completely independant of the motherboard and is a function of the Firmware on the Hard Disk. You can stick a password protected hard disk in any computer you like and access the data ONLY if know the password, else you cant even format that disk!

Details here:

http://www.eevidencelabs.com/article/ATA_Security_Roadblock_to_Computer_Forensics.pdf

or here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_ATA#HDD_Passwords_and_Security

It is part of the ATA standard and very hard to get past.

-Al


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  Reply # 280272 8-Dec-2009 09:16
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Opps sorry too early in the morning. Was thinking back to when I played around with TPM's on our IBM laptops some years ago and had a laptop (mine) that had a glass of wine tipped over it (and no not by me). Killed the TPM chip rendering the HDD which did survive inaccessible.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 280284 8-Dec-2009 09:34
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No prob. Whats a TPM chip?

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  Reply # 280285 8-Dec-2009 09:35
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trusted_Platform_Module







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 280289 8-Dec-2009 09:44
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Ahh.....knew it rang a bell

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