Will firmware flashing unlock a Samsung HM321HI hard drive?

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by dougwa, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. dougwa

    dougwa MDL Junior Member

    Mar 6, 2013
    I have a password-locked Samsung HM321HI/D (locked "high" not "maximum"). I have NO IDEA what's on it. I'd like to use the drive but haven't been able to unlock it for free.
    I have never been able to find a download link for firmware for it, however, datarecoverydonors.com will SELL me the original firmware for $9.50, but will flashing the firmware wipe the DCO area (thus taking off the dang password)? And/or can I even flash firmware to a locked Samsung drive?
    Other info:
    ZU.exe can unlock Western Digital drives in a flash but my Samsung from Hell isn't supported.
    I've tried MHDD with the only three "master" passwords I could google up:
    but no luck.
    A-FF Repair Station says it can unlock it for $49.95, but a new drive only costs forty bucks, lol...
    Other googled suggestions that didn't work:
    Erase with either Darik's, HDDerase or from Linux using this:
    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda conv=notrunc
    All worthless.
    Anyone have advice?
  2. Ming_the_Merciless

    Ming_the_Merciless MDL Member

    Feb 7, 2014
    I'm not an expert, but you asked for advice and I am pretty sure you are out of luck. As I understand it, the chip responsible for drive locking is separate from the bios. The bios does communicate with this chip, which is how you see and change the locking feature. Bios flashing only affects the bios directly, not any other security chips. And I think the chip is on the drive's controller board. One would need the skill and tools to change the chip or the entire controller. If you can't already do that, then, as you have already discovered, it would cost more than replacing the drive.
  3. LM3

    LM3 MDL Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Do you have the machine it was in when it was locked?
  4. dougwa

    dougwa MDL Junior Member

    Mar 6, 2013
    #4 dougwa, Nov 18, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
    It was in a Dell Inspiron N5010 which I repaired for a friend, so I don't have it now but I do have access to it. However, I should mention that I've already tried something that works on some drives - I locked another drive, started the unlock steps but swapped drives just after entering "input current password". Doing that you can fake out Drivelock on some hard drive models, but not on this accursed Samsung, lol!
    Also, Hello Ming! I'm not talking about flashing the BIOS, but rather, flashing the firmware on the hard drive. Some of the firmware is on the controller board and is not changeable, but most of the firmware is written to the hidden DCO area on the platter. I wonder if I can overwrite the DCO data by a simple firmware flash process? Or will a hard drive firmware flash not proceed on a locked drive? But for sure this is easily done with some crazy expensive low level drive hardware such as the pc3000 from acelaboratory - something I'll obviously never have!