Industrial IT

Keep your nose to the grindstone, that’s how you win.

I’m Jason Firth.

Sometimes you have problems that seem insurmountable, and all it takes to solve them is keeping your nose to the grindstone long enough.

I recently decided I wanted to have Network Attached Storage. Lately cloud services like Google have been getting sort of strange, and I just felt more comfortable having my data stored locally on my own hardware. I also wanted to have the data mirrored. This would mean that I have the data on two separate hard disks, so if one drive had problems, I would have a copy available. I purchased a pair of used hard drives and a used NAS. Unfortunately, the NAS shipped with a 50V power supply instead of a 12V supply so it immediately blew to smithereens, and I feared it may have damaged the drives at the same time. I purchased a new NAS and inserted the drives, only to have problems immediately.

The drives were Western Digital Red 3TB drives. They are both fairly old, but I figure this should be adequete to get me started and I can replace the drives at a later time.

To troubleshoot the drives I hauled out my ancient PCI got all sorts of Input/Output errors on the drives. I assumed it may be a problem caused by a faulty NAS, but something didn’t smell right — the drive appeared to be functioning properly. My intuition was telling me that the drives should be functional or not — the idea that the electronics would appear to be functioning perfectly while we see massive failures on the magnetic media or read/write heads didn’t really pass the sniff test, so I decided to dig deeper.

Here’s what Western Digital has to say about error 220:

My daily driver PC is a laptop, so I couldn’t just plug in the computer and expect success. I would have to do everything I could from USB memory sticks.

Next up, I downloaded and ran a Western Digital diagnostic utility for MS-DOS. That’s where I got the clue I needed. According to the utility, it couldn’t run a bunch of benchmarks because the hard drive had a Code 220 or Code 0220 “Drive is Locked”. That was my clue that something I could fix was going on.

The utility I finally succeeded with was called HDAT2. With it, I was able to unlock the drive.

The following is a fairly raw recounting of the steps I used to fix the drives:

  1. Download Rufus from
  2. Downloaded HDAT2
  3. Created a freedos boot USB using rufus and copied the hdat2 executable files to the stick
  4. Opened HDAT2
    1. cd hdat2
    2. hdpmi32
    3. hdat2
  5. Selected the drive
  6. Hit Enter to open the menu
  7. Selected the security menu
  8. Hit enter on the Unlock feature
  9. hit I to select the master identity
  10. Pressed K to select a known password, there were a number available. The one I ultimately needed was “WDCWDCWDCWDCWDCWDCWDCWDCWDCWDCW “
  11. Pressed S to set. It will ask if you’re sure. Press Y. If it is correct then it will say it’s succeeded. If it isn’t correct then it will say aborted. You can try the other known passwords.
  12. Next select disable password from the menu.
  13. Select the master identity by pressing I once and press S to set. Press Y to confirm.
  14. If it worked correctly then it will say it succeeded. If it failed then it will say aborted.
  15. Security on the drive is now shown as disabled!
  16. Before I took these steps, the drive could not be accessed successfully in any way. After I took these steps, I was able to immediately install Windows 7 on the drive, proving that it worked.

Thanks for reading!