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How to use Symantec System Recovery with Symantec Encryption Desktop?

Created: 27 Apr 2014 • Updated: 01 May 2014 | 4 comments
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I just set up a new laptop running Windows 7 Pro SP1. I am using Symantec Encryption Desktop and would like to be able to back up and restore with Symantec System Recovery Desktop. I have one virtual encrypted disk (and may add one) and three partitions on the internal HD (not counting the Recovery partition, which is the active partition).

I also plan to encrypt the entire internal disk but have not done so yet.

I first tried backing up the system with Casper Secure Drive BU to a USB HD. Could not boot from the USB HD. From past experience, that feature does not always work. To test backing up with Casper, restored the BU to laptop's internal drive. Now could not boot from internal drive! Restored computer from system image I had made on DVD's with Windows Backup and Restore. Decided not to use Casper on this computer.

Bought Symantec System Recovery Desktop 2013. Asked tech support how to use with WDE and the encrypted virtual disk. Agent was not personally familiar with this, but he sent one tech article,, which ended with references, of which the most relevant appeared to be

The first article gave me the impression that there was a solution, that after restoring a backup, but before rebooting the computer, one must rewrite the MBR by entering this command at the command prompt: D:\MANAGER\Bootsect.exe /nt60 C: /mbr   However, the second article indicates that this does not always work. It offers three other workarounds, yet makes it clear that none might work with this "DISCLAIMER: At this time, restoring volume(s) encrypted with Symantec Drive Encryption software is not currently supported by Symantec. The following steps are a 'work-around' in situations where a restore is imperative, and is not a guarantee of a successful restore." (The Symantec salesperson claimed the two programs would work together, but that does not help me now.)

I would like to test these programs and assure myself that I will be able to restore my computer in the future. I am considering the following plan:

  1. Before encrypting the laptop's internal HD, use Windows Backup and Restore to make a system image of the entire system on DVD's or a USB HD (or maybe both).
  2. After running WDE, back up each partition with Symantec System Recovery from within Windows. All backups will be independent, as I believe incremental recovery points do not work when a partition contains a .pgd file for an encrypted virtual disk. Since these backup images would otherwise not be encrypted, use the encryption feature in SSR.
  3. Restore all partitions, including the active Recovery partition, to the laptop's internal HD. At this point, if I understand correctly, the partitions are all unencrypted, but the MBR still has the PGP bootloader, which will keep Windows from starting, even if I type in the correct password.
  4. Before rebooting, get to the command prompt and type D:\MANAGER\Bootsect.exe /nt60 C: /mbr followed by [ENTER] to rewrite the MBR.
  5. Attempt to boot from internal disk as usual. If Windows loads, everything is fine.
  6. If Windows will not load, can I restore my system using the system image I created with Windows Backup and Restore before running WDE? I am thinking—but not sure—that Windows Backup and Restore will rewrite the entire disk, including MBR, partition tables, and partitions, so my disk will be just as it was before running WDE. Is this true? If so, it seems that restoring with Windows Backup and Restore would be the best thing to do if the  D:\MANAGER\Bootsect.exe /nt60 C: /mbr command does not work, rather than trying the three other workarounds in the second tech article.
  7. Now if I restore my latest backups (except for the Recovery partition, which has not changed) and run WDE on the internal drive, I should be back where I started.

I will appreciate any comments, especially answers to my questions in 6 above. I would like to be sure I can test this system of backing up and restoring without trashing my new computer.

Operating Systems:

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Alex_CST's picture

If your Windows image was taken before the drive was encrypted, it will work.  I am not sure of the outcome when you try and use the windows restore on an encrypted partition.

Please mark posts as solutions if they solve your problem!

chileverde's picture


In your second sentence do you mean the backup or restore function of Windows Backup and Restore? Since, in the first sentence, you say it should work if I restore an image taken before running WDE to encrypt the HD, I assume that in the second sentence you refer to a backup image taken after the HD was encrypted. Please confirm if I understand you correctly.

Alex_CST's picture

It shouldn't matter.  Give this scenario:

  1. Backup taken
  2. HDD Encrypted
  3. Restore performed

The restore will wipe the entire system back to step 1 previous to the encryption.  

To clarify, if you take a windows image AFTER HDD encryption I would expect that to give some unusual results.  I haven't tried that personally and I would not recommend having it this way.

Please mark posts as solutions if they solve your problem!