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'[EE:] HD Encryption?'
2004\04\04@170012 by Doctor Who

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PICers,
My employer's very graciously thinkin' of equipping me with a laptop for
on-road duties. Naturally I first of all recommended it be capable of
running essential software like, errm, Tomb Raider. :))

However, more seriously, the laptop would sometimes contain sensitive
material belonging to 3rd partties. What happens if the machine is stolen?
Front seat of car & all that. :(

Anybody able to recommend HD encryption software?

It's gotta be easy to use and more-or-less fool proof. Er ... I'll be the
main user but I can't speak for the others. :))

Price? Anything from free/share ware up to commercial. It'll be a Windoze
environment.

Thankz for any leads.

Brian

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2004\04\04@170638 by Marcel van Lieshout

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IIRC WinXP/Pro can do this out-of-the-box.

Doctor Who wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2004\04\04@182646 by Robert Rolf

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IBM Thinkpad HDs support encryption and difficult to break
BIOS passwords.
If you don't know the PW, you can't access the HD, even when the HD is
removed from the machine.

Some other laptops do the same, given that this is a common concern.
Compaq's can be secured as well, and require a hardware dongle for
recovery if you forget your PW (but I don't know if the HD's secure).

There is also the commercial Symantec product 'For your eyes only'
which works well.

Also, Winblows XP supports encrypted partitions and subdirectories
or files. Given that you're looking at a new laptop, get XP pro,
and be done with it.

Robert

Doctor Who wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2004\04\04@205027 by Jake Anderson

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i'm pro windows in many ways and i wouldnt trust XP to encrypt something as
far as i could throw it.....(that dosent make much sense really i mean you
could probbly get a fair distance out of one of those XP CD's)

take a look at safehouse its payware but not much, it creates an encrypted
volume with as much encryption as you could want (enough that the
performance hit was a bit much on my dual Xeon 3.06 when i was putting a
large number of files on it lol) so basically you wind up with you c:\ drive
having a 20gb file on it you run the safehouse shortcut put your passphrase
in (you arent only using a pass *word* are you?) and you get say e:\
appearing and anything in there is encrypted. it can also link with smart
cards, thumb print recognition etc but i think a good passphrase is safer in
regards to it cant be stolen and you wont loose it ;->

{Original Message removed}

2004\04\05@045420 by Philip Pemberton

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In message <.....BAY9-F27DCVJrrZeD4T00054d52KILLspamspam.....hotmail.com>>          Doctor Who <EraseMEdr_whooospam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTHOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

> Anybody able to recommend HD encryption software?
Scramdisk is open-source and runs under most versions of Windows. It creates
a file on your hard drive and encrypts it. I've heard that the file just
looks like random data if it's run through a statistical analyser program.

Or you could just get an IBM Thinkpad. Lose the BIOS password and you have to
replace the motherboard to get rid of it. Not only that, but the password
applies to the hard drive as well - IBM's method for removing the hard drive
password is.. replace the hard drive. Apparently it encodes the password onto
the drive platters and in the drive's firmware. If you swap the controller
card over, it makes no difference - IIRC the firmware detects an
inconsistency and refuses to allow the drive to boot. Nice.
If Toshiba are still making laptop drives, it's a fair bet that they're using
them in their laptops. In which case, avoid Toshiba drives and laptops like
the plague. The drives won't survive ANY knock or bump while the drive is
running - I walked into a wall while carrying my laptop. The laptop hit the
doorframe and the drive promptly crashed. The laptop was running and it was
in a rather thick padded laptop bag. Put it this way - I never want to see
another Toshiba laptop drive. Ever.

Later.
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2004\04\05@065852 by hael Rigby-Jones

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{Quote hidden}

Subjecting a hard drive to a large shock whilst running is hardly
recommended procedure though, and one failure isn't really justification for
avoiding a product.  If you think the Toshiba drives are bad, I guess you
didn't experience the early 7200RPM drives from IBM that had just about the
worst failure rate ever.  I had three fail in as many months.

Mike





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2004\04\05@102427 by David VanHorn

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>
>If Toshiba are still making laptop drives, it's a fair bet that they're using them in their laptops. In which case, avoid Toshiba drives and laptops like the plague. The drives won't survive ANY knock or bump while the drive is running - I walked into a wall while carrying my laptop. The laptop hit the doorframe and the drive promptly crashed. The laptop was running and it was in a rather thick padded laptop bag. Put it this way - I never want to see another Toshiba laptop drive. Ever.


Boy, that's completely counter to my experience.
I've been using a Libretto L-1 with toshiba 40G drive for two years now, and had NO problems with it. Before that, a Libretto 50, with 3G drive. I haven't deliberately abused it, but it has had it's share of bumps and bruises in a whole lot of planes, trains, and automobiles.

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2004\04\05@120600 by hael Rigby-Jones

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>-----Original Message-----
>From: Philip Pemberton [RemoveMEphilpemEraseMEspamEraseMEdsl.pipex.com]

>The 75GXPs? I've got one of those in a fileserver. Update the
>firmware (there's a copy of the flash upgrader on IBM's
>website) and they're fine. I've also got a 35GXP which seems
>OK, too. The drive in my 386 is a 4GB Seagate U4 - 1999 fab
>date, still working fine.

75 and 60GXP.  The problem was isolated to drives made in one particular
plant (Hungary IIRC) and was down to build defect, so a firmware update is
not likely to help any dead drives.  Some peoples drives have lasted well
with no problems, but a huge number of them did not.

Mike




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2004\04\05@151223 by Robert Rolf

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Philip Pemberton wrote:
>
> In message <EraseMEBAY9-F27DCVJrrZeD4T00054d52spamspamspamBeGonehotmail.com>> >           Doctor Who <RemoveMEdr_whoooKILLspamspamHOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
>
> > Anybody able to recommend HD encryption software?
> Scramdisk is open-source and runs under most versions of Windows. It creates
> a file on your hard drive and encrypts it. I've heard that the file just
> looks like random data if it's run through a statistical analyser program.
>
> Or you could just get an IBM Thinkpad. Lose the BIOS password and you have to
> replace the motherboard to get rid of it. Not only that, but the password

Not true. There are web sites with details on how to recover from this
'mistake'. It does involve accessing the EEPROM chip directly to
read the contents.

> applies to the hard drive as well - IBM's method for removing the hard drive
> password is.. replace the hard drive. Apparently it encodes the password onto

SO expensive that any industry has arisen that specializes in recovering
ones' password.

> the drive platters and in the drive's firmware. If you swap the controller

It's on the platter.

> card over, it makes no difference - IIRC the firmware detects an
> inconsistency and refuses to allow the drive to boot. Nice.

The drive boots just fine (i.e. it initializes). It simply will not
pass data until it receives the correct password. This too can
be bypassed by people who have modified firmware that lets them
swap logic boards and blank the password.

> If Toshiba are still making laptop drives, it's a fair bet that they're using
> them in their laptops. In which case, avoid Toshiba drives and laptops like
> the plague. The drives won't survive ANY knock or bump while the drive is
> running - I walked into a wall while carrying my laptop. The laptop hit the

This is good to know. It confirms our terrible experience with a Toshiba
laptop. And because it failed under warrantee in another country (student)
she go NO satisfaction in spite of having an 'international' warrantee.

{Quote hidden}

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2004\04\05@182401 by Herbert Graf

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> >The 75GXPs? I've got one of those in a fileserver. Update the
> >firmware (there's a copy of the flash upgrader on IBM's
> >website) and they're fine. I've also got a 35GXP which seems
> >OK, too. The drive in my 386 is a 4GB Seagate U4 - 1999 fab
> >date, still working fine.
>
> 75 and 60GXP.  The problem was isolated to drives made in one particular
> plant (Hungary IIRC) and was down to build defect, so a firmware update is
> not likely to help any dead drives.  Some peoples drives have lasted well
> with no problems, but a huge number of them did not.

       Count me in on that drive, mine failed in little over a year after
purchase. While the RMA process wasn't too bad, it was a huge hassle (for a
drive only 1 year old). That, plus the two laptop IBM drives that failed me
have permanently put IBM/Hitachi off my HD purchase list. Shame since I've
got two IBM hard drives that are over 10 years old that still work fine (in
24/7 service).

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2004\04\05@185631 by Matt Pobursky

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On Mon, 5 Apr 2004 18:23:22 -0400, Herbert Graf wrote:
>     Count me in on that drive, mine failed in little over a year after
> purchase. While the RMA process wasn't too bad, it was a huge hassle (for a
> drive only 1 year old). That, plus the two laptop IBM drives that failed me
> have permanently put IBM/Hitachi off my HD purchase list. Shame since I've
> got two IBM hard drives that are over 10 years old that still work fine (in
> 24/7 service).

You realize you just signed their death warrant... some corollary of
Murphy's Law, I think! ;-)

Matt Pobursky
Maximum Performance Systems

IBM "Deathstar" user who had no troubles with them until early this
year after I mentioned to someone "they really aren't that bad". Since
then I've had two of them die and another on it's death bed.

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2004\04\06@031459 by dr. Imre Bartfai

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Hi,

I do not know for this or other reason, but IBM has closed the mentioned
plant some times ago. And as info for HDD reliability: I had a 40GB Maxtor
HDD, which crashed very nasty: bad sectors, and a total mix up of an ext3
filesystem, so practically no way to recover the data. However, I did not
want to dump the drive so made a short look. Maxtor offers on their
website a HDD repair program. I downloaded and ran it, and it cleaned up
the drive perfectly. Since there (6 months) the drive runs without any
problem (incl. badtracks). Misterious, eh?

Regards,
Imre

On Mon, 5 Apr 2004, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:

> >{Original Message removed}

2004\04\06@052805 by Doctor Who

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Thankz for the tips guys. Sounds like Win XP is the way to go mainly cuz
it's in the box already. I think the Co. mainly wants to cover their butts
if confidential info gets nicked. Passing the buck back to uSoft is probably
gonna sound petty good to them. ;)
Brian

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2004\04\06@054711 by Alan B. Pearce

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>Thankz for the tips guys. Sounds like Win XP is the way to go mainly cuz
>it's in the box already. I think the Co. mainly wants to cover their butts
>if confidential info gets nicked. Passing the buck back to uSoft is
probably
>gonna sound petty good to them. ;)

I would have thought the primary way around this is not to have the info on
the laptop, but rather on a USB memory stick. These are available in decent
sizes these days, and should allow the most sensitive info to be stored on
them, such that any working files that may then end up on the hard drive are
useless without the memory stick.

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2004\04\06@141943 by Doctor Who

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>I would have thought the primary way around this is not to have the info on
>the laptop, but rather on a USB memory stick. These are available in decent
>sizes these days, and should allow the most sensitive info to be stored on
>them, such that any working files that may then end up on the hard drive
>are
>useless without the memory stick.
>

Haven't used one of them - mem capacity was miniscule last time I enquired.
Some of the data would be hi-res images, ie big files.
How do they work in tandem with the HD? What happens if the men stick is
swiped?
Brian

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2004\04\06@164447 by Robert Rolf

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Sounds like you had a power bump or other glitch that scrambled
the on board cache, so when the track was written back, it
was full of crud. (big drives cache whole tracks for speed).

It would be interesting to get the bad blocks report from the drive
to see how many blocks it substituted, and whether you still have
an ongoing bad blocks problem.

If the utility was able to format the drive with no appreciable increase
in bad blocks, you might want to check on your power supply (cold solder
joints). If there are a large number of bad blocks, I wouldn't trust
the drive to not suddenly start plowing the media with the heads.

Robert


"dr. Imre Bartfai" wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> > >{Original Message removed}

2004\04\08@033934 by dr. Imre Bartfai

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Thank you for your ingenious advice (really). As the matter of fact,
before this event the number of bad tracks has very slightly increased
(from zero to some). After the crash, I tried to read the disk phisically,
but it was refused on a given place due to physical I/O error. After the
treatment, the badtracks disappeared.

The possibility you mention is fascinated me. Have you an idea, whether
this accident could be initiated by software event? (e2fsck just run when
it happened).

Regards,
Imre

On Tue, 6 Apr 2004, Robert Rolf wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> > > >{Original Message removed}

2004\04\08@114330 by Robert Rolf

picon face
"dr. Imre Bartfai" wrote:
>
> Thank you for your ingenious advice (really). As the matter of fact,
> before this event the number of bad tracks has very slightly increased
> (from zero to some). After the crash, I tried to read the disk phisically,
> but it was refused on a given place due to physical I/O error. After the
> treatment, the badtracks disappeared.

Good firmware can format around a physically bad part of the surface
by changing the spacing of the inter sector gap so that it lands on
top of the bad media. There was a utility called HDTEST
for old MFM drives that did this very well. Modern drives reserve
many tracks for 'bad block substitution' which gives you the
illusion of a perfect drive (none are with the new ultra high
bit densities) until you try streaming video to them. Then you
find out that the heads are chasing all over the surface doing
block substitution and you get underrun errors. Some A/V rated drives
reseve blocks per track so that the substitution has minimal
effect since no seeks are involved, but the penalty is less total
available storage for the same media area.

> The possibility you mention is fascinated me. Have you an idea, whether
> this accident could be initiated by software event? (e2fsck just run when

Possible, but not likely. Most drive firmware is well tested and robust.
It is more likely a power glitch did it.

> it happened).

You could always try running the program a few times to see if
you can recreate the failure. If you can, the manufacturer should
be contacted since this would represent a huge liability to them.

Robert

{Quote hidden}

> > > > >{Original Message removed}

2004\04\08@171502 by Philip Pemberton

face picon face
In message <@spam@Pine.LNX.4.44.0404060918230.30938-100000@spam@spamspam_OUTprof.pmmf.hu>>          "dr. Imre Bartfai" <spamBeGonerootspamKILLspamPROF.PMMF.HU> wrote:

> plant some times ago. And as info for HDD reliability: I had a 40GB Maxtor
> HDD, which crashed very nasty: bad sectors, and a total mix up of an ext3
> filesystem, so practically no way to recover the data.
Let me guess. Maxtor 5T040H4?
I had a 5T040H4 fail a few years ago - it stopped spinning. Funny thing is,
if you held the PC's RESET button in for a few seconds the drive would squeal
a few times, then make a click (probably the head-lock disengaging), then the
motor would start spinning.
Maxtor did an advance RMA on the drive. It died completely while I was
copying its contents onto the replacement. To Maxtor's credit, the
replacement was fine - it's a 6L080J4 - yes, an 80GB. Turns out the warehouse
ran out of 40GB UltraATA-100 drives, so they sent out the next one up - an
80GB UltraATA-133. Absolutely lightning fast :)
Incidentally, I've got a 386 sitting next to me - 386DX-40, math coprocessor,
8MB RAM, 8x CDROM, two serial ports, 16-bit soundcard... and a 4GB Seagate U4
hard drive. What does the 386 run? DR-DOS 7.03, Protel Autotrax, Turbo C++
and MPASM. Now if only I had a DOS driver for my wisp628...

> However, I did not
> want to dump the drive so made a short look. Maxtor offers on their
> website a HDD repair program. I downloaded and ran it, and it cleaned up
> the drive perfectly. Since there (6 months) the drive runs without any
> problem (incl. badtracks). Misterious, eh?
If a drive starts displaying bad sectors, it's probably on its last legs. I
usually start backing data up to CD-R when the drive shows a single bad
sector (or flags a SMART Diagnostic Error), then RMA it post-haste.

Later.
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2004\04\08@172535 by Philip Pemberton

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In message <TakeThisOuTBAY9-F68OgTG2RSboPW00082db7.....spamTakeThisOuThotmail.com>>          Doctor Who <TakeThisOuTdr_whoooKILLspamspamspamHOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

> Haven't used one of them - mem capacity was miniscule last time I enquired.
> Some of the data would be hi-res images, ie big files.
> How do they work in tandem with the HD? What happens if the men stick is
> swiped?
Some of them have onboard password protection. Repartition the Flashdrive
with the software, then set a password. The ones based on Samsung chipsets
are quite nice - lose the password and you get to replace the drive. I think
you could probably get the data off with an EPROM programmer, but building up
a uBGA-to-DIP adapter for the programmer would be pretty difficult.
Just FYI, Crucial Technology (<http://www.crucial.com>) are selling some nice USB
drives - the "Gizmo" series. Silver-and-white "pill" casing, neck-strap, and
based on a Samsung chipset. One of the UK PC magazines (PCformat?) did a
labtest of USB drives - hitting them with golf clubs, putting them in a waste
tray in a rat cage, boiling them in water, running a car over it, that sort
of thing. The Crucial drive allegedly survived with barely a scratch on it;
all the data was readable and intact (according to the magazine anyway).
Oh, and the cost-per-MByte is lower than most other manufacturers' offerings,
not to mention the lifetime guarantee.

Standard disclaimer applies - I have no relation to Crucial except as a happy
customer.

Later.
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2004\04\14@044155 by dr. Imre Bartfai

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Hi,

I do not have the type description at hand. I will look it. I did not see
suspicious S.M.A.R.T. informations beforehand so I was calm. Only Temp
made some headache (45C) but I do not know the limit. However, I saw
already cooked drive - a real nasty thing.

I guess the clicking noise you mentioned is another thing: it is a trial
to position the heads in case the index information is being lost (or
weak). A colleague of mine some years repaired MFM drives this way
rewriting this index track.

BTW, Wouter HAS a DOS driver for Wisp628. I even modified it slightly to
program 87xA series PIC. If he does not mind and you needs it then it
could be arranged.

Regards,
Imre

On Thu, 8 Apr 2004, Philip Pemberton wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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