How do I unlock my Seagate hard drive without the password?

What to do if you’ve forgotten your Seagate drive password

Forgetting the password to your Seagate external hard drive can be frustrating, especially if you rely on the data stored on the drive. Fortunately, there are several options for unlocking your Seagate drive if you’ve forgotten the password.

The easiest solution is to try logging in with obvious or reused passwords that you tend to rely on. For example, try the password you use for your email or social media accounts. You may get lucky with a password your subconscious tends to fall back on.

If none of your usual passwords work, your next option is to use a password cracking or removal tool. Software like LogMeOnce Password Recovery can bypass hard drive passwords through a brute force attack of possible password combinations. This takes time but can successfully unlock the drive (Source).

As a last resort, you may need to erase the drive entirely and reformat it. This will remove all of the data, but allows you to access the hard drive again. Some Seagate drives have a built-in self-erase function that can be triggered if you forget the password.

The key is not to panic. With persistence and the right tools, you can regain access to your Seagate drive without the password.

Understanding Seagate drive encryption

Seagate uses AES-256 bit hardware encryption to secure data on some of its external hard drives. This powerful encryption generates a unique encryption key to lock the drive when you first set a password. All of the data written to the drive gets encrypted on the fly using this key.

Without the correct password, the drive cannot decrypt the data or generate the original encryption key. So the password essentially acts as the passcode to unlock all of your encrypted data. Only with the password can the drive complete the encryption process in reverse and give you access to readable files and folders again.

Seagate’s hardware-based encryption happens independent of your operating system and software. The Seagate Secure drive has the encryption chip built right into its PCB circuit board. That means you can use your encrypted drive on any OS or computer without special software.

Trying obvious or reused passwords first

One of the easiest ways to recover a forgotten password is to simply try passwords that you commonly use for other accounts. Many people reuse the same password across multiple devices or online accounts, so there’s a good chance your Seagate drive uses a password you already know. According to WikiHow, trying passwords from other accounts is often successful because people tend to use familiar passwords that are easy to remember.

When trying to unlock your Seagate drive, start by entering passwords you use for your computer login, email, social media, online banking, or any other accounts. Also try variations like capitalizing the first letter or adding numbers or special characters to the end. Going through passwords you already use frequently can often jog your memory if they were reused for the hard drive.

Using password cracking software

One option for recovering a forgotten Seagate drive password is to use password cracking software that employs brute force or dictionary attacks to guess the password.

Software like Passware Kit Forensic ( or Elcomsoft Distributed Password Recovery ( can be used to run an offline attack against the encrypted drive to find the lost password. These tools try every possible character combination until the correct password is discovered.

A brute force attack simply tries all possible passwords combinations, while a dictionary attack attempts common dictionary words or combinations. Dictionary attacks are generally faster, but may not find very complex passwords. Brute force is slower but will eventually test every possible password.

The downside to password cracking software is that it can take an extremely long time to find the password, depending on the length and complexity. For a short, simple password it may only take minutes or hours. But for a long, complex password it could potentially take months or years to crack.

So while password cracking software provides a way to recover a lost Seagate drive password, it is not guaranteed to work in a reasonable timeframe. It should be viewed as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

Resetting the drive with Seagate recovery software

If you previously enabled the password reset option, you can use Seagate’s recovery software to reset your forgotten password. Seagate offers the Toolkit application that includes the “Seagate Secure” feature for drive encryption and password management.

To use the password reset, you first need to download and install the latest version of the Toolkit software from Seagate’s website ( Once installed, open the Toolkit and click on “Seagate Secure” in the main menu. This will display options to change your password and reset your password using a recovery key.

When you initially set up password protection, Toolkit gave you a recovery key as a backup method to reset your password. If you still have this key, enter it when prompted after clicking the “Reset password using recovery key” option. This will reset your password and allow you to access the drive again.

If you’ve lost the recovery key, unfortunately you won’t be able to use Toolkit to reset the password. You will need to try other options like using password cracking software or even reformatting the drive.

Erasing The Drive And Reformatting

If you have tried all other options to unlock your Seagate drive and still cannot access your data, erasing the drive will remove any encryption and allow you to start fresh. This should only be done as a last resort, as it will result in permanent data loss.

To erase and reformat the drive, you can use the diskpart command in Windows. According to this guide, you will need to open the command prompt as admin, type “diskpart”, and then enter the following commands:

  • list disk
  • select disk X (where X is the number of your Seagate disk)
  • clean
  • create partition primary
  • format fs=ntfs quick (or your preferred file system)

This will wipe the Seagate drive completely, removing all partitions and encryption. You can then reformat it and use it as a normal drive again. Just be absolutely certain you have exhausted all other options before erasing, as again, this will result in permanent and irrevocable data loss.

Enabling backup passwords

One of the best ways to avoid losing access to your Seagate drive is to set up a backup password. Seagate’s Dashboard software allows you to configure a backup password that can be used if you forget your main password.

To set up a backup password in Dashboard:

  • Open Dashboard and select your locked drive
  • Go to the “Properties” section
  • Enable backup password by toggling it on
  • Enter and confirm your chosen backup password

Be sure to choose a backup password that is different from your main password. Store the backup password securely using a password manager or other safe method. As recommended by Veeam, use a strong password that would be difficult for someone else to guess.

Having a properly configured backup password set up through Dashboard provides a vital safety net in case you ever lose access to your main Seagate drive password.

Using a Password Manager

Using a dedicated password manager application is one of the most secure and convenient ways to store passwords. Password managers generate, save, and sync strong randomized passwords for each account. This avoids password reuse and remembering passwords yourself. Leading options like 1Password and Bitwarden offer cross-platform apps with secure encrypted storage. According to Reddit users, 1Password is a top choice for its easy interface, robust features, and strong encryption.

With a password manager, you only need to remember one master password to unlock access. Premium password managers include advanced features like credit monitoring, secure password sharing, dark web scans, and emergency access. When properly secured, a password manager greatly reduces the risks of forgotten, lost, or compromised credentials.

Storing passwords securely

It’s important to keep backup copies of your passwords in case you forget them or lose access to your main password manager. However, you need to store these backups very securely, as they could be exploited by cybercriminals if compromised.

Experts recommend storing physical password backups in a locked safe, bank deposit box, or other secure location where they can’t be easily accessed. If using paper copies, store them inside sealed envelopes. Digital password backups should be encrypted and kept on an external device not connected full-time to a network, like a USB drive.

When making physical or digital backups, it’s critical to use very strong master passwords and encryption that would require extreme effort to crack. Also be sure to store the backups in a different location than your everyday devices, so they can’t be compromised in the same incident.

No matter how you store password backups, never share their location or contents with anyone else. Also periodically check on them to ensure they remain secure and haven’t been tampered with.

With proper precautions, backup passwords enable you to recover access if locked out of accounts, while still keeping your data safe from intruders.

When to contact Seagate support

If you’ve exhausted all the DIY options for unlocking your Seagate drive without the password and have had no success, contacting Seagate support directly may be your last resort.

According to the Seagate Personal Cloud User Manual – Passwords1, Seagate’s customer support team may be able to help reset your Seagate Access account password if you’ve forgotten it and don’t have your backup reset key.

The Toolkit Seagate Secure FAQ2 explains that Seagate itself cannot recover a forgotten password, even for encrypted Seagate Secure drives. However, for other types of password-protected Seagate drives, their support team may have options to help unlock the drive.

According to the Sdrive – Password Reset3 page, Seagate can generate a reset code to unlock Sdrive devices when the password is forgotten.

Before contacting Seagate, make sure to have your drive’s serial number and any receipt or proof of purchase ready. Be prepared to verify your identity and ownership of the device.

While Seagate’s support options are limited for forgotten passwords, their technical team is your last option before having to fully reset or reformat the drive, resulting in data loss. Contact them to see if any unlocking solutions are available for your specific Seagate device.