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Computer Inaccessible!

  1. Feb 10, 2007 #1
    My computer has an ASUS A7NBX-VM motherboard. I was recently given a computer with an ASUS KBV-X. I know little about hardware; here is my problem:

    The "new" computer (Both were custom built) has a hard drive that is password protected, with no guest account option, and F8 is disabled during startup. This password is unknown to all parties involved (No, it is not a stolen computer, people are simply irresponsible).

    I assume that the only way to "crack this safe" is to set up the new hard drive as a slave to my own, format it, and reinstall the OS. (It's running XP).
    I attempted to do this, but the connections to the two drives are fundamentally different. Mine is connected with Parallel ATA, and the "new" drive is connected via SATA. (This I gather from Wikipedia.)

    1) I'm guessing that Parallel ATA would be better in some way than Serial ATA...does that mean that my drive is necessarily better? (I cannot determine the specs of the "new" drive because I cannot access it)

    2) Is there a way to connect the SATA drive to my current motherboard, or are they inescapably incompatible?

    3) Is there an easier way to access the "new" protected drive, seeing as how I plan on purging it's data anyway?

    I'm willing to learn anything, but remember I use the language of a novice. Thank you in advance, my friends...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 10, 2007 #2

    AlephZero

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    Serial ATA is better than Parallel - i.e. faster data transfer, uses less power, longer cables possible, etc. But guessing that parallel is better than serial was an understandable mistake!

    The connectors and cables are completely different, so if your motherboard doesn't have SATA connectors you can't use the SATA drive with it.

    Re getting into the BIOS with F8 on the old PC, what happens if you disconnect the drive completely and try to boot up the PC with no hard disk? Does that get you into the BIOS, or try to boot from another device? If it tries to boot from the CD, you can boot up from your Windows CD.

    If the password protection is in the BIOS itself, there should be a hardware method of unlocking it by moving some jumpers on the motherboard, or disconnecting the backup battery, or whatever. The motherboard manual or the manufacturers website should have the details.
     
  4. Feb 10, 2007 #3
    If its the bios password. i.e the one that appears before a windows screen appears then ive heard that you can simply reset the cmos. By taking out that little battery in the motherboard for about 5-10 min. or by resetting the jumpers. If its the windows password it gets more complicated and I think it takes a floppy disk.(I dont know how to do it if its the windows password)
     
  5. Feb 10, 2007 #4

    verty

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    SATA is better because having 40 tracks travelling around the motherboard creates problems with skew, like if there is a 90 degree corner, the outer tracks are longer, so signals arrive later. With serial transfer that hassle is avoided and the cables are handier.

    But otherwise it isn't really "better" in a meaningful way. You will see the same harddrive space and get the same performance (currently), it makes little difference ultimately.
     
  6. Feb 10, 2007 #5

    verty

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    If you know someone with a SATA system, stick it in theirs.
     
  7. Feb 10, 2007 #6
    For a second, I thought this was an innuendo. Actually, you're right - I fully plan on using this new board, copying my old disk onto the new, and hawking the old system.

    Thanks for the quick and helpful replies, everyone! I'm going offline, and hopefully there won't be any problems.
     
  8. Feb 13, 2007 #7
    For fixing this problem follow these steps. Let's just hope the hidden administrator account hasn't been changed.

    F8 in all actuality only works with certain computers, Try F5, if F5 doesn't work, then go re-enable it in the BIOS, If the BIOS is protected you can definately do what AlephZero said, and that is to remove the battery and/or reset Jumper 1 or 2 (depending on the motherboard model)

    To reset a jumper, look at the motherboard and find the jumper labeled Jumper 1 or J1 or J-1 or something to that affect. If don't see labels on the jumpers you have my to refer to a manual of that brand of motherboard (Google for the win)

    If you have found the jumper, it will look something like this ·[· ·]
    use a pair of needle nose pliers or tweezers to remove the jumper, and change it to the other half of the 3-pin set. [· ·] · -- Turn back on the computer after you do this, and after teh BIOS screen has loaded, it may pull up a message saying the CMOS is been reset, or that the password has been reset, or it may say, CMOS error. Whatever it says or does (you may see a blank screen, or it may act like nothing has changed), but whatever it says or does, shut it back down by holding the power button, and reset the jumper back to the original position, and start it back up. If it was the right jumper, it will reset the entire CMOS.

    You can also do the battery method of taking it out, flipping it over, and putting the neutral side of the battery on the contacts, or just leave it about for about 5 minutes, but some mobo models will still keep the settings, depending on their setup.

    Once you do ALL of that, while the comptuer is starting up, press F5 over and over and over until you see the message options. Once you do this, choose to startup and regular safe-mode, and you should be able to choose teh administrator account, let's just hope it isnt passworded.

    If this doesnt work, then let me know and I will tell you some more methods

    Hope you fix it!
    Scale
     
  9. Feb 13, 2007 #8
    Ah, what a pickle. I was able to enter BIOS, and I was able to connect both drives (IDE and SATA), and I've learned a bit in the process. However, considering I knew nothing, not much is said by this. A few more problems arose: 1) XP requires you to reactivate once the hardware changes (and considering an unemployed friend custom built the PC, my version may well be pirated - luckily I have a second, legitimate copy). 2) BIOS seems to recognize that I have both types of drives plugged in, and I can boot from either one. However, the "new" SATA drive still has a Windows XP password required, and no guest account allowed. My plan was boot from my IDE drive and format the SATA drive, reinstall XP, and start fresh. But when I boot from my drive, I cannot access the SATA drive - it isn't recognized by the OS (if that makes any sense). If you have anything to add, it would be a big help!

    3) More of an annoyance than anything: when I reconnected my IDE drive to my original computer, my cable modem couldn't connect to the internet (Yes, I'm pretty sure it's related to the switching, as it was unplugged for a a brief moment. I assumed that the information required by the modem to connect would be on the hard drive, not located in RAM on the modem itself, so why this happened is a mystery. I'm at work now, but I certainly don't want to have the cable company come out to my apartment to fix this; especially if it's going to happen everytime I switch out the drives!
    :frown:
     
  10. Feb 13, 2007 #9
    1.) Try the internet activation, if it works, then there is nothing you have to worry about. If the internet activation doesn't work, and you do have to call, try to at least make sure you have the CD-Key, about one in every twenty calls they will ask you for the CD-Key, most of the time they wont. When you call up there, they will ask you a question like, "Is this installed on any other computer" or whatever. Just say no it's not installed on any other computer, and that your computer crashed and you reinstalled windows and it is now asking for a key. If they do ask you for a CD-Key, just say that you don't have it with you and you will call them back later. Then call back 5 minutes late and you will have a new person. When you call them the automated voice prompt will ask you to read off your installation ID which is completely useless. If it doesn't work on the internet activation, it wont work with their phone thing. So what you do is when it ask you to read off your installation ID, just say, "Agent" and the automated thing will go, "I see you wish to speak with an agent. Is that correct?" and so on, then it will transfer you.

    2.) The reason you can not access the Sata drive when you boot from the IDE drive is because in order for a Sata drive to be recognized, it must have the Sata driver installed, which is something that is done on initial setup of the drive, that's why you can't see it from the IDE drive.

    When booting from the SATA drive did you try the F5 over and over thing to get into Safe Mode and log onto the hidden administrator account in hopes that it was not changed as well? Let me know, if you have tried and the password for the Admin account is different, I will tell you other ways to get past it.

    3.) From what you described that is fairly odd. If you just unplugged the Hard Drive and plugged it back in, then all the configuration information should still be there. I can only theorize that depending on the type of network card that you have in your computer could of possibly (note this is all in theory) when you unplugged your cable from the network card, and severed the connection, your cable modem could of (or your network card could of) changed in some way to cause your issue. Even while the computer is off, the network card can still (depending on it's model and makeup) receive signal information just from the voltages in the ethernet cord. Some models will still have the small little LED lights on the network card come on, even when the computer is off, some don't.

    Anyway, is the internet still down for the computer? If so let me know and I will walk you through some steps to get it up.
     
  11. Feb 19, 2007 #10
    OK, Scale - I hope you're still with me!

    Update: The internet thing fixed itself...Maybe it was just temporarily out of sync. As for the F5 administrator account - yes, I tried it and it has been changed.

    IDE drive: More problems everyday! Is there a way to reconfigure the driver to recognize SATA within an IDE after it's initial setup? I thought that there was, and like a fool, I started messing with things without backing up my data. I downloaded a SATA/IDE driver of sorts (Now I realize it was the wrong one...) and saved it to a floppy. Then I went into the "Update Drivers" on the IDE drive, and updated the RAID driver, using the one on the floppy. (By now, I'm pretty sure this was the wrong way to go, as I now realize that RAID drivers are only used to set up arrays of drives ((right?)) ). Anyhow, when I restarted my computer, BIOS won't recognize my IDE drive! What's more, this is the case on both computers. I feel like an idiot, but I'm not sure it's my fault (completely). BIOS should recognize the drive even if the drivers are incompatible, right? Even when I boot from the Windows XP installation CD, I'm told that "There are no hard drives detected." Is this a disk failure? Have I screwed myself out of a computer, and lost my data?

    Well, if I have, then at least I still have a SATA drive (that I can't access). You said there were other ways to get past it?
     
  12. Feb 19, 2007 #11

    verty

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    No, don't jump to conclusions. All SATA drivers say that they are raid, it means that you can stripe or mirror two SATA drives.

    Nothing you can do will make an IDE drive fail to recognise. That means your cables aren't correct or the bios settings aren't correct. It can't happen. It especially can't make the disk fail, unless you dropped it or something like that.

    You are using an ASUS motherboard, and some ASUS boards have been known not to recognise secondary drives if no primary is present. Similarly, some motherboards have been known not to recognise a masterless slave (or is it the other way round? I'm thinking of the P2B as an example). I think this is less likely, but you never know. Is it set to primary master, or perhaps single? Some drives have a special 'single' setting and if you put them on 'master', they won't work without a slave. Check that.

    Obviously check that your cables are connected properly. Remember that a lone device should be connected to the end of the cable. Leave the SATA disconnected and run the detection routine in the bios and get the IDE detecting. Again, it can't fail to detect is it is connected properly. I even autodetected a 40MB Conner which had no master or slave jumper (setting)! It has to work.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007
  13. Feb 19, 2007 #12

    robphy

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    have you tried using Knoppix? If there are no hardware errors, you should be able to see all of the hard drives.
     
  14. Mar 8, 2007 #13
    Hmm

    Sounds to me like he wants to bypass WinXP passwords.

    This is incredibly easy, but I'm not sure if I want to tell you how to do it..

    hmm..

    I'll think about it..

    nah..

    Google has answers.. and I won't feel guilty if you figure it out yourself and really are just trying to get into someone else's computer.. Don't do it if you are going into someone else's computer though.. Any files that were encrypted by windows for that person will become permanently unreadable. There are some non-evasive ways of cracking the password, but google will tell you those ways as well if you look hard enough.

    If you have AIM, you can contact me and I can walk you through diagnosing the problem you are having and fixing it (or declaring your IDE hard drive dead). My AIM sn is PhilipLR

    One thing though.. Have you been using anti-electrostatic wrist straps, or at the very least touching some metal in the inside of your computer case as it is plugged in, to ground yourself before you handle your sensitive electronics? If not, then you are in over your head here and need to learn how to do this properly.
     
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