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Cannot get PGP Whole Disk encryption removed

Created: 02 Sep 2012 • Updated: 02 Sep 2012 | 9 comments


My laptop has 2 drives plus an external drive. I had PGP whole disk encryption on all three drives. I removed it from my system drive as well as the other drive without problems. Halfway through decrypting the extrnal drive something went wrong and I could not get the process started again.

I eventually decided to format the drive as I had backups of everything. While at it I decided to do the whole system over and went ahead and deleted all partitions on all the drives. I recreated the partitions and formated them and started reinstalling my Windows 7 (64) as well as other software.

After that I loaded PGP Desktop again and in the disk section it showed that my one drive was still encrypted and asked for the password. It also showed my external as being halfway with the decryption process and also asked for the password. I no longer have the passwords so I cannot get these processes to complete and am now stuck like this.

I tried again to delete all partitions and to format all drives but the same happens once I am up and running. How can PGP still be on these disks after deleting all partitions on ALL the drives and formating them?

Can anybody help me by telling me how to get rid of PGP 100%? I've backup everything so I am able to format everything if I have to but this does not seem to help at all.


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Mike0007's picture

Just an update:

I just made use of Paragon Partition manager to delete all the partitions. I rebooted with my Windows 7 CD and during the setup I once again deleted any partitions on any of the drives and recreated partitions which were then formated. This was done for all three drives.

I installed Windows and right afterwards installed PGP Desktop. When I go into PGP Desktop to the disk section it shows me that the one drive is encrypted and that I am still halfway with the decryption ont he other.

I am however able to copy files to and from those drives without requiring any passwords. When Windows starts up it asks me for the passwords. I click on 'Cancel' until these dialog boxes disappear and am then able to work as normal.

I would like to clean all my drives and re-encrypt them again but in order to do this I first need to get all this PGP removed from my drives. Any help please, this is driving me nuts....

Tom Mc's picture

Please use the command line usage in this Knowledge Base Article to assess the actual status of your drives.  My guess is tha the drive is just instrumented.

When you consider your issue resolved, please click Mark As Solution on the most helpful response.

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Mike0007's picture

Thanks for the reply Tom,

I went through the article and tried what is given there but was unable to do so as I did not have the pgpwde file on my pc. Not sure why not. I tried uninstalling PGP and re-installing it but was unable to uninstall it as it kept on telling me that I could not do so as there is a disk that is being unencrypted.

I then tried reinstalling but just kept on getting errors, so much for that.

In the article there is however no mention on how to resolve my problem. It only tells you how to check the status of the disks. 

Is there no way to wipe a disk of all traces of PGP? Surely there must be a way to do this. I'm not worried about recovering any data. I have backups. I just want my drives to be clean of PGP and have PGP out of my system once and for all.

This is what I see when I look at PGP Desktop even though no drives are encrypted and has been formatted several times.

Link to image:

Additional Information:

Running Windows 7 - 64 bit

PGP Desktop version 10.2.0 (Build 2599) (PGP SDK 4.2.1)

License type: Enterprise Whole Disk Encryption

Mike0007's picture

Almost 48 hours later and no reply? Seems nobody knows what to do?

Tom, in your profile it states that you work for technical support.Could you perhaps put me in contact with somebody who can get this resolved? I am sure that it's something simple but at this stage it is so utterly frustrating that I am at the point where I will get rid of all the products from your company.

My business has come to a standstill for the past week due to these probelms and we cannot go ahead until we get these drives sorted out. Do I need to go out and buy new hard drives and destroy the current ones? Please just come back to me and tell me that either I am screwedand that Symantec cannot or will not help me, or that there is a solution.

At least I then know where I stand with this whole PGP mess.

Thanks and regards

Tom Mc's picture

I'm sorry that you are having these difficulties and that assistance in this forum has not been able to meet your needs.  While this forum is freely provided, and includes the participation of a number of quality Symantec employees, as well as other highly competent forum participants, it does not provide the level of support that opening a support case can provide.  The link provided by Weevil includes a link for this option. 

When you consider your issue resolved, please click Mark As Solution on the most helpful response.

Search the Knowledge Base &

Alex_CST's picture

The forums are not designed for mission critial support, you cannot be guaranteed responses on here, that's what is for.

You should have pgpwde on your machine, it comes with all installations of PGP Desktop, so in a command prompt you will need to drill down to your pgp installation folder in order to use it.  The last chance saloon to decrypt is to use the recovery CD, which as you seem to have a 500gb HDD will take a very long time as it's only 16-bit encryption, but it means that you won't have to get new HDD's.

If you cannot find pgpwde it should be in /PGP Corporation/PGP Desktop/pgpwde.exe 

Please mark posts as solutions if they solve your problem!

Mike0007's picture

Maybe it is true what is said on so many forums. PGP was great until it was taken over by Symantec. Now it is just another slouch like Norton and the rest backed by one of the most pathetic attempts of customer support.

Sorry for being so rude but been there done that in regards to the help.

I will go out and buy three new hard drives this afternoon and trash the existing ones. Never again will I come within a mile of any Symatec product and I will share my experiences with all who are willing to listen.

The support sucks, here and on the link you provided. Sorry for my rudeness, I am just so utterly frustrated.


Alex_CST's picture

If you just want to splat the drives there's plenty of bootable cd's that have nuking software on, Active@ Kill Disk springs instantly to mind, it sounds to me like that's all you need, or Boot & Nuke:

Deleting partitions and formatting disks are 2 very different things.

Please mark posts as solutions if they solve your problem!

vaibhav_jain1's picture

Hi Mike,

Your secondary and external drive might still contain the PGP MBR. It is not removed if you format an encrypted drive.

Your primary drive does not have this issue because upon reinstallation Windows automatically replaces the MBR. So, please use Windows's Fixmbr utility or a third party software to clean the PGP MBR.

You can also use a sector editor like Disk probe to clear/zero write the Sector 0 of your secondary and external disk only.

Try it out. Let me know if it doesnt workout.