I've decided to designate a separate topic to this question ( even though I've mentioned this in topic: Best practice to secure hard-drive of computer(laptop) in case of Stealing ^ Loss ^ Unauthorized access? ), so this question is not duplicate.

If I have password-protected hard-drive (so, password is asked on boot), it is called "encrypted" hdd? Can someone easily bypass passworded hdd, either by software, or even hardware level (attach the physical hdd-plates to same-kind unlocked hdd-chip)?

1 Answer 1


BIOS hard drive passwords are implemented using a "lock" mechanism in the drive controller itself. When the drive has a password set, the controller "locks" itself and will not allow the data to be read without being "unlocked." However, this can be bypassed by an attacker who replaces the drive's controller board with another (unlocked) board of the same model, or, depending on the controller, by resetting or erasing the password through a model-specific (usually undocumented) hardware or software mechanism.

A BIOS hard drive password is not the same as encryption, and should not be used as a defense against anything more than casual attacks by unskilled attackers.

  • Aren't there tools that can read directly off exposed platters as well? It would also fall for that. Nov 27, 2019 at 22:50
  • Yes, but a controller-swap attack is easier, more likely to be tried, more likely to succeed, and no less effective in the vast majority of cases. Dec 2, 2019 at 12:55

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