Register    Login    Search    FAQ     Articles & downloads     Who We Are    Donate

Board index » Technical Forums » Partitioning and dual booting




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:44 pm 
Offline
Resident Geekazoid Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 8268
Location: The state of confusion; I just use Wyoming for mail.
I've been looking at another drive utility which raised a question...

My Sandisk SSD is advertised as 240GB but the following screen shot from this drive utility makes me wonder if that is the true size. Is it possible that it could actually be a 468GB drive with part of it being 'locked'? This would not be unprecedented as AMD put out many processors as 2-core that could be 'unlocked' to be a true 4-core, 3-core to 6-core and 4-core to 8-core.

I have zero idea as to what the following image is really saying. Can anyone enlighten me?

Attachment:
ssd-info-1.jpg
ssd-info-1.jpg [ 80.7 KiB | Viewed 9209 times ]


Articles that really make me wonder about this.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Host_protected_area
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Device_co ... on_overlay

LOL! If others agree with me that this looks possible I would also fully understand that I might be buying a new SSD. ;) Of course I would mirror the drive to another drive first. What do you think? This is a bit beyond my experience. Apparently big box stores have been using this method to 'hide' part of a drive so that they, as the second article states, could use an 80GB drive in a 60GB system if they could get the 80GB drive cheaper. Given the 80 and 60GB drive sizes in the article tends to show how long hidden space on a drive has been used.

It really sort of makes sense as it is cheaper to use one production line for multiple products and then just burn the settings to make the difference. It would cost more to have two different actual production lines.

_________________
Image
Free sites from jaylach.com
I NEVER forget... I just remember late.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:03 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Posts: 2415
Location: New Jersey
I believe that the image says what you think it says -- that is, that there is a massive amount of locked space on the SSD that you can't touch. I don't believe that it is true, though. :-) I am only speculating, but wonder if it is due to the architecture of an SSD vs. a traditional spinning platter based device or a flaw in the tool.
-steve

_________________
stephen boots
Microsoft MVP 2004 - 2020
"Life's always an adventure with computers!"


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 1:57 pm 
Offline
Resident Geekazoid Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 8268
Location: The state of confusion; I just use Wyoming for mail.
That I can't answer Steve but will probably find out eventually. ;)

_________________
Image
Free sites from jaylach.com
I NEVER forget... I just remember late.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:22 pm 
Offline
Resident Geekazoid Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 8268
Location: The state of confusion; I just use Wyoming for mail.
OK... I bit the bullet and tried the thing. End result is that the drive still works and boots with no difference in size. I think that I now have a handle on this.

1) Where this utility is showing user, native and max LBA sizes has nothing to do with drive capacity. It is actually the number of sectors available. Well, of course, the number of sectors affects capacity but I think that you know what I mean...

2) If the drive actually had hidden sectors under HPA and/or DCO it would show in the fields pointed to in the lower balloon of the screen shot.

Since, on my SSD drive, the HPA/DCO size fields show as zero there are no hidden or locked sectors. In my specific case I could possibly lower the capacity of the drive but I could not increase.

I am happy to say that all three of my internal drives show zero HPA/DCO sectors but then I build my own systems. I think that this situation would probably apply more to big box systems. Actually this aspect brings up a factor that might be a bit scary. If you look at the upper portion of the following screen shot it would seem that even though these hidden sectors are not directly accessible they can still contain code that can execute. While I don't know anything I could see this as a potential tracking method that could not be removed via Programs and Features in the Control Panel.

Attachment:
hidden drive area info.jpg
hidden drive area info.jpg [ 300.69 KiB | Viewed 9187 times ]

_________________
Image
Free sites from jaylach.com
I NEVER forget... I just remember late.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:46 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:48 pm
Posts: 2415
Location: New Jersey
Interesting stuff, Jay. Thanks for sharing it.
-steve

_________________
stephen boots
Microsoft MVP 2004 - 2020
"Life's always an adventure with computers!"


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:38 pm 
Offline
Resident Geekazoid Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 8268
Location: The state of confusion; I just use Wyoming for mail.
You are welcome Steve.

Actually I have seen reference to these 'hidden sectors' being used in forensics by the FBI. I don't really understand it all but it seems possible that the FBI just might be under investigation for improper usage. Can we spell out 'invasion of privacy'?

Even Pete and Acadia's heavy security would not suffice on this as it would seem that code within such hidden sectors seems to be able to execute outside of the actual system environment. Even though it can execute it seems that it is still invisible to the OS and even the BIOS. Do I detect a glitch in the Matrix??? :mrgreen:

_________________
Image
Free sites from jaylach.com
I NEVER forget... I just remember late.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:41 am 
Offline
welcoming committee

Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:52 pm
Posts: 970
jaylach wrote:
You are welcome Steve.

Actually I have seen reference to these 'hidden sectors' being used in forensics by the FBI. I don't really understand it all but it seems possible that the FBI just might be under investigation for improper usage. Can we spell out 'invasion of privacy'?

Even Pete and Acadia's heavy security would not suffice on this as it would seem that code within such hidden sectors seems to be able to execute outside of the actual system environment. Even though it can execute it seems that it is still invisible to the OS and even the BIOS. Do I detect a glitch in the Matrix??? :mrgreen:


Good info Steve. On more question I'll ask about before I go away from the spinning platters. It's also why I like my current disk set ups. One partition that takes up all the space on the disk


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:36 pm 
Offline
Resident Geekazoid Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 8268
Location: The state of confusion; I just use Wyoming for mail.
Ahhh, but Pete, you don't actually know if your one partition is taking up the entire disk. Sectors hidden under HPA/DCO are invisible to the system and BIOS.

_________________
Image
Free sites from jaylach.com
I NEVER forget... I just remember late.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:04 pm 
Offline
welcoming committee
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:39 am
Posts: 601
Location: Johnstown, NY
Stop trying to peek at the hidden section of your drive, next thing you know there will be black helicopters hovering over your house.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:27 pm 
Offline
Resident Geekazoid Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 8268
Location: The state of confusion; I just use Wyoming for mail.
:rofl2:

_________________
Image
Free sites from jaylach.com
I NEVER forget... I just remember late.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:08 pm 
Offline
welcoming committee
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:45 am
Posts: 1068
dvair wrote:
Stop trying to peek at the hidden section of your drive, next thing you know there will be black helicopters hovering over your house.

:bow7:
Acadia

_________________
The blazing evidence of immortality is our dissatisfaction with any other solution. -- Emerson


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:10 pm 
Offline
welcoming committee

Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:52 pm
Posts: 970
Well from what I read a 1tb drive has 1,953,125,000 sectors

My C: drive partition Starts at sector 64 and ends at sector 1,953,525,167

So the hidden stuff must really be hidden.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:36 pm 
Offline
Resident Geekazoid Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 8268
Location: The state of confusion; I just use Wyoming for mail.
Yep it would seem that HPA/DCO actually hides the sectors.

HPA/DCO started with system manufacturers. Say that they built a system that came with a 60GB drive but got a deal on 80GB drives that was even better. They would use HPA/DCO to make the 80GB drive look like a 60GB drive to the system all the way down to the BIOS level.

The only real bad thing in the whole deal is that, even though invisible to the system, these hidden sectors can still hold code that can execute.

HPA:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Host_protected_area

DCO:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Device_co ... on_overlay

_________________
Image
Free sites from jaylach.com
I NEVER forget... I just remember late.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:14 pm 
Offline
Resident Geekazoid Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 8268
Location: The state of confusion; I just use Wyoming for mail.
Please keep in mind that this is a whole new topic for me. Prior to playing with a new drive utility I had never even heard of HPA/DCO. I make no claims as to actually knowing much of anything about the topic, just going from what I've read over a couple of days.

I should also add that, if you want to look at this utility, be wary. I always run a scan with MBAM Pro after installing software, especially free stuff. When I ran the scan it came up with 204 PUPs but all were optional, not active as though I could have selected to include but did not. Still if you install this Disk Checkup utility from Passmark I would follow-up with a scan for PUPs.

_________________
Image
Free sites from jaylach.com
I NEVER forget... I just remember late.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 

Board index » Technical Forums » Partitioning and dual booting


Who is online

Registered users: No registered users

 
 

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:

Similar topics


Jump to:  

cron