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What is PARTIES? - ThinkCentre A50, A50p, M50, S50

HPA (Hidden Protected Area) is a standard from the ANSI/ATAPI committee, also known as PARTIES (Protected Area Run Time Interface Extension Services). HPA serves as the new method for service partition.

There are some distinct advantages in using the HPA:

  • Each function can be stored in its own area
  • Provides a level of flexibility and security not available with the partition-based disk-to-disk recovery solution
  • Separating the data in the HPA provides greater protection from data loss and unauthorized access
  • Each of the areas is protected by firmware locking, effectively hiding the area from unauthorized software.
  • All four primary partitions are still available
  • The startup process can be interrupted by pressing the Enter key or Access IBM button.

The HPA is comprised of four main components: HPA Header, Access IBM Predesktop Area, Additional Bootable Functions Area, and Data Areas.

HPA Header

The HPA header consists of two parts: the Boot Engineering Extension Record (BEER) and the Directory of Services (DOS). The HPA contains a listing of all the areas in the HPA and is similiar to a parition table. Below is a diagram describing the HPA header

HPA header

Access IBM Predesktop Area
The Access IBM Predesktop area is the main entry point. You can access the predesktop area by pressing the Enter key or the blue Access IBM button on your keyboard during startup. you will be presented with a graphical interface with multiple sections (see below). You will see a task based interface. The activity can then be selected by clicking the desired tasks. The accessibility features are supported as well. for example, you can use the tab key to highlight the desired taks and press Enter.

Access IBM screen


Bootable areas
Installing a bootable image into the hidden protected area allows an icon representing the area to be added to the Access IBM predesktop area.. Each bootable area is digitally signed to deter tampering and to prevent virus attacks. Every time an area is booted, it signature is checked and only validly signed areas are allowed to boot.

Bootable area diagram

Data Areas
Data areas provide storage and additional space for the bootable areas. These data areas store the recovery and flash repair data. An updated area also exists to enable us to supply patches and updates

Data area diagram

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Document ID : HT035447
Legacy Document ID : MIGR-51248
Last Updated :
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