Windows

Poll: Should Windows offer a Target Disk Mode feature like OS X?


In the following IT Dojo video, I show you how to use Target Disk Mode (TDM) to access the hard drive of a Mac that won't boot.

Original blog post:

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/itdojo/?p=198

In the blog post, I point out that TDM can be a security risk. Accessing a drive through TDM bypasses most security for local accounts and even network accounts. I could find only two exceptions. First, if you configure an Open Firmware Password, the machine will not enter TDM. Second, if you encrypt your home folder using FileVault, you won't be able to access the data without the FileVault password. You'll also have to find the hidden FileVault image using the "Go to Folder" menu option or terminal.

Despite TDM's security risks, I think it's an extremely handy feature that I would like to see Windows offer. Besides, I subscribe to the general assumption that if someone has physical access to the machine they can probably access the data on that machine. What do you think?

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

5 comments
lcdata
lcdata

First of all, thank you for interesting articles. Can we do away with videos, please. They're truly inconvenient. Is it at least possible to offer both, videos and pdfs versions, instead? Thanks.

Too-Tired Techie
Too-Tired Techie

I agree that the videos are inconvenient. Seems like you should include scripts or documents, not just videos. Videos are bandwidth hogs, etc, and frowned upon here at work. TDM for Windows would be handy, especially if accessed or configured through BIOS settings, and especially on laptops. I've had limited luck with Bart PE in trying to get files off of non-bootable laptops. And of course, many PCs don't have Firewire... I have a feeling though, that MS has their hands full right now and won't be adding anything this Mac-like to the upcoming OS.

casteels
casteels

This is NOT a job for Windows. But this IS INDEED a job for the BIOS and the hardware. We need our systems to have a target disk mode, regardless of the OS. Afterall some day, we need to bring windows back to its normal proportions and stop thinking that the current position of windows is in any way considered to be normal. Specifically in times where VM's are running underneath Windows, this is a job for the HW + BIOS.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In the following IT Dojo video, I show you how to use Target Disk Mode (TDM) to access the hard drive of a Mac that won't boot. Original blog post: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=198 In the blog post, I point out that TDM can be a security risk. Accessing a drive through TDM bypasses most security for local accounts and even network accounts. I could find only two exceptions. First, if you configure an Open Firmware Password, the machine will not enter TDM. Second, if you encrypt your home folder using FileVault, you won't be able to access the data without the FileVault password. You'll also have to find the hidden FileVault image using the "Go to Folder" menu option or terminal. Despite TDM's security risks, I think it's an extremely handy feature that I would like to see Windows offer. Besides, I subscribe to the general assumption that if someone has physical access to the machine they can probably access the data on that machine. What do you think?

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