Calling all computer Guru's .....

Is there a way to lock a hard drive - even a BOIS password protected one - so that it cannot be reformatted by anyone other than yourself ?

The reason for asking although quite incidental :-
Recently bought a laptop with a TFT screen. It arrives a week later than promised, no big deal. Open box turn on and hey presto there’s a pixel on the screen that doesn’t work. Phone the supplier, and after an hour - “call us back tomorrow for a collection time”
Phone the next day “you are who? we have no record of you calling, just send it back to us, what’s wrong with it? duff screen, oh how many pixels? one! we don’t normally have them back for that” (this call took another hour)
At this point I start to get suspicious, check dejanews amongst others with the supplier name, oh s**t this companies customer service is known for all the wrong reasons.
Phone a friend far more wise than I in computer matters he informs me that TFT screens are famous for non reliability.
Oh great, so instead of sending the laptop back send a letter to the customer services department, just stating that they’ve supplied me with defective goods, and I want written assurance that they are going to replace the screen.
A week later a letter comes back in which they state regarding the screen problem
" The industry standard is to divide the screen into three, the centre part is zone A and to the left and right of the centre are classed as zone B. The industry standard allows 1 defective pixel in zone A and 2 defective pixels in zone B, or 2 pixels in total (zone A and zone B)"
Oh and “back up all data as the hard drive will be reset to factory spec to ensure that the drivers are installed and functioning correctly”
Well this gets me really mad, firstly they are saying that if I send back this laptop with 1 pixel out on the screen then by the standards they set I could end up with one with 2 pixels out. Secondly, and I’m only guessing at this, why do they need to do a re-format complete with all that crap they put on there if it is only a screen replacement. After all, if you replace a monitor on a PC with an identical one you don’t need to re-install the drivers.
Anyhow, altogether disgruntled by now I resort to drastic means, call my solicitor (Lawyer) and explain the situation.
Ah well he says, if that’s the industry standard then what are we supposed to do. I tell him that if he bought a new car and it had a chip in the windscreen (shield) or on the paintwork and the manufacturer tells him that’s within industry standards would he accept that? Well no, that’s against the sale of goods act and the consumer goods act, which also gives rights to compensation.
Now were getting somewhere, but the upshot is I still have to send the damn thing back to give them the opportunity to repair to my satisfaction, the compensation bit is a separate issue whether they do or don’t repair to satisfaction apparently.
The end to this being that I’d like to lock the hard drive good and proper. It’s not that I have anything to hide, but the principle matters, I cant remove it as that would invalidate the warranty, so if anyone knows a way to do this, or even if it’s possible I’d be most grateful for any info.

Blessed are the Cheesemakers


I feel for you. Unfortunately, you’re screwed, unless you can get them to feel sorry for you. I had a similar problem with a DELL laptop. Actually, when there was a shortage of LCDs about a year ago, we received a lot of screens with dead pixels. Even with the weight of future purchases of large corporation, they said “If it’s within spec, there’s nothing we can do about it! Thank you for calling.”
That said, a friend of mine bought a Mac laptop a while back. It had one dead pixel so he called in to complain - thinking that he was going to get the typical “it’s in spec” runaround. Instead, Apple was very apologetic and had him take it to a local repair shop. He had his computer (with a new LCD) back in operation at home within a couple of hours. A day or so later he received a phone call from the Apple service center, again to apologize for the inconvenience and to make sure that the problem had been dealt with promptly and effectively. There’s service… and then there’s SERVICE.

Point B. Never ever, ever give your PC to any kind of service people without backing up your hard disk. It seems to be the industry standard thing to do with PCs - “If in doubt, wipe the disk…” I know it’s insane, but these are not rational people you’re dealing with.

I don’t know of any way to physically or logically lock your drive to prevent a reformat.

as for your question on how to avoid a format w/o passwording the BIOS – the only thing I can think of is to delete the format command from the system – but then any computer techs have their own system disks and will be more than able to format the system w/o using your HDD – in short, your screwed

this may be oversimplification, but why don’t you just send it back without the hard drive?

because as he stated, removing the HD would void his warrenty.

And keep a tech from being able to re-format it? No. There is no way to prevent the disk from being re-formatted short of the drive having read only mode jumpers you could set (some do) and even these could be re-set. Back up your data and send it clean.