Upgrading or Reinstalling Windows on Encrypted Disks

Article:TECH149783  |  Created: 2010-04-19  |  Updated: 2012-03-28  |  Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH149783
Article Type
Technical Solution


This article provides information on decrypting disks prior to reinstalling Windows or formatting a disk.



When reinstalling Windows on a partition of a disk that is PGP Whole Disk Encrypted, you must first decrypt the disk and all partitions to avoid data loss on other partitions of the disk. As data on the entire disk is encrypted to PGP Desktop information on the Windows partition, if the Windows partition is formatted and Windows is reinstalled, the data on other partitions will remain encrypted and inaccessible.

Prior to upgrading or reinstalling Windows


  1. Backup your PGP Keypair. 
  2. Decrypt any system disks encrypted with PGP Whole Disk Encryption.

    Warning: You MUST decrypt all partitions prior to upgrading to Windows 7. Data loss may occur on partitions not decrypted prior to upgrading your operating system.

  3. Uninstall PGP Desktop.
  4. Upgrade or reinstall Windows.
  5. Install PGP Desktop.
  6. Import your PGP keypair. 
  7. Encrypt your system disk.

Note: Should you not be able to access your system to decrypt the drives, you can use our recovery images to decrypt those drives, or you will have to decrypt the drives over the  command line, by putting the drive into another PC.

Here is a link to the recovery images for PGP Desktop 10.2.x


Here is a link on how to troubleshoot using the command line:


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Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH149783

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