hidden disk areas

(redirected from device configuration overlay)

hidden disk areas

The host protected area (HPA) and device configuration overlay (DCO) are two areas at the end of SATA and IDE hard disk drives that are only accessible via special utilities but not the operating system, BIOS or general user. Both the HPA and DCO can reside on the same drive, and both areas offer potential storage for hiding small to large amounts of secret data, which forensic analysts must be aware of. See SATA and IDE.

Host Protected Area (HPA)
The HPA can contain boot code as well as diagnostics and other utilities, all of which are specific to each drive vendor. The HPA was added with the IDE/ATA-4 specification (see IDE).

Device Configuration Overlay (DCO)
The device configuration overlay (DCO) lets PC vendors buy drives in a range of sizes from different manufacturers and configure them with the same number of sectors in order to appear the same size to the operating system. The DCO was introduced with the IDE/ATA-6 specification (see IDE).
References in periodicals archive ?
BCWipe Total WipeOut is run from a bootable disk to delete hard drive data entirely, including boot records, filesystem structures, operating system files and all data sectors and service areas of the drives like Host Protected Area (HPA) and Device Configuration Overlay (DCO).
The M80 SATA Series and M80 Series feature 80GB formatted capacity per disk, Fluid Dynamic Bearing Spindle motor technology, ATA SMART feature set, ATA Automatic Acoustic Management, ATA Device Configuration overlay and Multi-Burst On-The-Fly Error Correction.
Each of the new M60 SATA Series and M60 Series Parallel ATA hard drives feature 60GB formatted capacity per disk, Fluid Dynamic Bearing Spindle motor technology, ATA SMART feature set, ATA Automatic Acoustic Management, ATA Device Configuration overlay and Multi-Burst On-The-Fly Error Correction.