Decrypting Fixed disks Encrypted with PGP Whole Disk Encryption

Article:TECH187324  |  Created: 2012-04-25  |  Updated: 2012-04-25  |  Article URL
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Technical Solution


Decrypting Primary Fixed Disk before decrypting Secondary Fixed Disk can result in data not being accessible.



PGP Whole Disk Encryption has the ability to encrypt hard drives, both Internal Fixed Disks, or External, or Removable Disks.  

Fixed Disks are disks that are connected directly to the system itself, inside the computer case.
External Disks, are those that are connected outside the computer case, via USB, Firewire, etc.
Decrypting Fixed Disks should be done with special consideration. 


Consider the following scenario:
A system has two Internal, Fixed Disks, a Primary Fixed Disk, and a Secondary Fixed Disk. The Primary, Fixed disk is where the operating system would be installed, and the Secondary Fixed Disk is where additional data could be stored. Both of these Fixed Disks have been encrypted with PGP Whole Disk Encryption.


Although these disks are separate fixed disks, they are grouped together with PGP Whole Disk Encryption for PGP Disk management, such that if decrypting the Primary Fixed Disk is necessary, decrypting the Secondary Fixed Disk, first, is necessary.

Before decrypting the Primary Fixed Disk, please first decrypt the Secondary Fixed Disk and confirm accessing the data is possible, then move on to the Primary Fixed Disk for decryption.
If both Primary and Secondary Fixed disks are encrypted, and the Primary Fixed Disk is decrypted first, then accessing data on the Secondary Fixed Disks may not be possible and restoring that data from backups would be necessary.

If the Primary Fixed Disk has been decrypted and the data is critical and no backups are available, please contact Symantec PGP Support to troubleshoot further.

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