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The newest generation of the EliteBook 840 model. The EliteBook 840 G5 is a business-oriented laptop manufactured by HP in 2018.

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Bypassing the internal LCD to erase the SSD -- possible?

I have an 840 G5 with a cracked 4K LCD (not cheap to fix!) which will need to sit on the backlog for a bit until I can get a raw 4K screen, used assembly or a locked donor. However, I was able to get it with the SSD (in this market, YAY!) … But I also got their user data since it was very obvious it booted into Windows :-(.

Since the LCD is cracked, I cannot see the BIOS to erase, or check the laptop for evidence of an old OS. Since I'm not 100% sure, I have to worry about “cold storing” someone's data unwittingly. Not exactly fun, but also not the first time.

Is it possible to bypass the internal LCD so I can go into Windows to make sure, and into the BIOS so I can erase the laptop? If not, I will need to remove the SSD, use my fixit contest laptop (this G5 has a SanDisk drive, and I installed a TEAMGROUP SSD in the fixit challenge laptop), boot parted magic and erase it in a NVMe enclosure, and move it back to the laptop.

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Hi @nick ,

With an external monitor connected to the laptop, try either starting the laptop with the lid closed (lid switch needs to be operated) or maybe disconnecting the laptop screen from the motherboard and check if that works.

It may depend on what the BIOS is set up to do, if anything regarding the video output

Had the 1st option work on a laptop once, can't remember if Lenovo or not but it didn't on a old Samsung. Heard about the 2nd but it never worked for me



@jayeff I tried to plug it into my TV and switch the display to an external but no luck on either the residual OS, or BIOS.

I need to fiddle with it more later, but I want to make it 4K again so I don't want to pinch the cables either.



Did you try disconnecting the LCD from the motherboard and then after booting up toggling the appropriate F keys to external?


@jayeff Not yet. I need to find a way to isolate things as the G5/G6 has very little in the way of tolerances.

Might have to lay it on the side and tuck the cables away... Might be the best way to avoid buying a enclosure as NVMe ones still cost around $20. Not a lot sure but that's a bit much for a thing that's been mature for years.


@oldturkey03 any ideas?


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You could mount the SSD to an external enclosure, and connect that to a computer. This way you can wipe any data that might be on that drive using a separate computer. Otherwise you could try installing the SSD into a spare laptop and wipe it from there.

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How I do it is I use Parted Magic, which is a bootable tool. You boot it from a USB drive or DVD and then can run a secure erase command. I'll even verify the erase, when possible, with a 10% read test. Overkill sure but I know if someone comes to me about it, I can prove I did my due diligence with the circumstances.

I don't like SW tools that run in Windows. The S/N of the wipe machine can be different as long as the SSD S/N is present for traceability.


I'll need to check that tool out. I've helped family members retire their old computers and I got a enclosure that I use to help format the drive.


@jmehnert It's not free from the website now, but the Internet Archive has a few copies. I pay the yearly subscription and cancel it immediately.

Be forewarned... Proper HD erasure takes hours. I let an HP from a bygone era when spinning rust was the law of the land due to price (2015) sit since it took ~6 hours to Secure Erase and verify the first 10%.

SSDs are instant since it just quickly wipes it and throws away the encryption key. Verification will still take some time.


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Try to use a VGA cable directly to a monitor or connect a HDMI to a TV either ways should work there is also SSD removal option which is easier.

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Nick sarà eternamente grato.
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