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Extracting and Resetting an Unknown ATA Password

Insight can recover and/or remove unknown HDD passwords (also known as ATA passwords) and for most hard drives the unlocking process is fully automated.

When a device is connected and identified as locked with an ATA password, there is a corresponding PWD indicator displayed in the port, and Security Status in the Home page says Locked, High or Locked, Maximum. High and maximum are password protection levels that the operator who locked the device selected. Although information about it may be relevant to the investigator, both security levels are supported by Insight's password recovery functionality, therefore this information is not important for the purpose of this guide.

Source deviced locked with ATA password

Source deviced locked with ATA password

To perform a complete Diagnostics, Insight needs to have a hard drive unlocked. Therefore we suggest that when dealing with a locked device, password recovery is performed before running the Automatic Checkup.

Diagnostics showing password lock

Diagnostics showing password lock

Password Extraction, Reset and Reset until power cycle

Under Device Recovery category of the left-side menu select Password Recovery subcategory. There are 3 options of dealing with a locked hard drive:

NB. If Reset Password until power cycle option is selected, no power cycles that are executed in the course of automatic checkup, imaging or other operations will affect the temporary unlocked status of the device. Only a deliberate power cycle, such as clicking on Power button, will change the Security status of the drive back to Locked.

Unknown password recovery

Unknown password recovery

For the list of hard drives currently supported by Insight's automatic password recovery, please follow this link.

Please note that this guide is applicable to all supported Samsung, Toshiba and Western Digital hard drives. To unlock a Seagate drive, please connect the device to the Serial port of the DiskSense unit and then follow the same steps. Hitachi drives require the use of the password extraction adapter: for more information please follow this link .