Tricked into using the Embedded Security Subsystem on my Thinkpad

Well, some of you may recall the trouble I went through the last time I go the fantastic idea (NOT) to try and use my Thinkpad’s Embedded Security Subsystem.

For those not fortunate enough to have a recent Thinkpad, some systems come with this security chip, the ESS, which in essence provides a hardware cryptographic engine and can store your credentials instead of relying on Windows to store them. This makes it that more dfficult for someone stealing your system to access your data.

Anyway, this time, I ran the IBM Software Installer, which is a real neat piece of software that can update your BIOS, drivers and IBM tools in a single sweep, everything beeing automated. This time, it offered a small utility for my Num Lock key, as well as, my old friend Rescue & Recovery.

I had already installed and started using RR a while back, but then, it stopped backing up my OS, and I decided to uninstall it. But beeing the masochist I am with software installation, I figured I’d give it a 2nd chance. Download was quick (for a 235Mb package), installation was smooth, I installed everything suggested, and off to a reboot we go. Oh-oh… why does it bring up this cute Connecting to Embedded Security System dialog box?

After a few minutes, it finally gives me the Windows logon, but it’s now different than before, and I have to do a CTRL-ALT-DEL to enter my password. As I boot, a new tray icon is sitting there, and I’ve got a new removeable drive… R:.

I then realize that the other options I accepted to install, the Password Vault and the PrivateDisk, make use of the ESS to manage security accesses. The good new is that this time, my system is still functional.

The bad news is, since it ain’t broken, do I really want to try and uninstall, since I don’t like/need these utils… and if it ain’t broken, …

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