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PGP 10.1 Not Opening Time Machine Encrypted Archive

Created: 09 Feb 2011 | 5 comments

I've been backing up using Time Machine on Leopard with no problem in accessing PGP encrypted disks for restoration of files. It seemed that when I had the disk open during the Time Machine backup, changes to the encrypted store were saved on the backup. When I needed to restore, I only had to make sure I had the disk store mounted, and TM could access the encrypted store on the backup drive.

After upgrading to 10.1 PGP and Snow Leopard - this is no longer working. It backs up the encrypted store to the external drive, but will TM will not open the store for restoration. When I try to access the encrytped store on the backup device through Finder, I get a permissions error.

Anyone else run into this? I can't find any adequate (any, really) documentation in the manual or anywhere else on TM, though its purported compatibility with TM is the reason I purchased. PGP. I was happy with the last version .....

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mallardduck's picture

Are you saying you backed up to a PGPDisk, or to a WDE'd external drive?

Large PGPDisks are notoriously easy to corrupt - when that happens, you're essentially out of luck.

If you're backing up a PGPDisk file to Time Machine, you MUST unmount it prior to the backup running, otherwise you'll likely end up with a corrupted backup of that file.

You may also have run into basic issues with Time Machine - it appears that 10.6.6 changed the TM code, and it either corrupted backups, or does a better job at detecting them.  Both my machines lost their TM backups within a week of the upgrade, and many others at my company have experienced the same thing.

In any case, and it may be too late, it's always a good idea to have at least on unencyrpted backup available.

carteeb's picture

yeah, sorry - guess I wasn't too clear. I created a PGP Disk that was 4gb or so. Before Snow Leopard and 10.1 PGP, it was backing up to my external LaCie drive using Time Machine, along with all my other files. When I restored using TM, it seemed that PGP and OSx opened the archive on my LaCie drive so that it looked like all the rest of the backed up files. Nifty. NOW, it doesn't (after Snow Leopard and 10.1 PGP upgrade). Now I see all my TM files, but the ones on my PGP Disk are locked inside the encrypted file on my LaCie drive -- and every copy is the same way -- one big blob that won't let me open it, and isn't letting TM open it either.

So, if you guys are having this problem at your office, what backup software are you running? Or are you using WDE and TM?

mallardduck's picture

Hmmm...the contents of removeable drives are excluded from TM by default, and it definitely can't open a PGPDisk anyway.  When you say one big blob, are you seeing the contents of the PGPDIsk, or the .pgd file itself?  If the latter, any backups made when it was mounted are probably corrupt and won't open.

PGPDisks are like virtual machines - neither plays well with time machine.  Most of us are using WDE, with unencrypted backups.

bbdev's picture

What seems like an obvious solution to do a backup of sensitive data to me is the following:

1) Whole Disk Encrypted (successfully) Mac

2) Time Machine onto an external Disk 

3) Whole Disk Encrypt that Disk.

My question is... Is this a bad idea?

Ok - I haven't got it working yet (I'm getting Encryption Paused and some deprecated comments in console when trying to resume for step 3 above) but it did seem like a reasonable back up solution to me.


mallardduck's picture

Youc an do that, but remember that you won't be able to easily restore the TM backup.  If you need all encrypted backups, I'd definitely have at least one bootable clone.

For me, I always keep one unencrypted backup.