Sophos SafeGuard Disk Encryption 4.x (SDE): recovery guide

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  • Updated: 09 Sep 2013

Please note: This article is only valid for Sophos SafeGuard Disk Encryption 4.60 and cannot be applied to Sophos SafeGuard Disk Encryption for Mac 5.x/6.x

Your computer is exhibiting symptoms of operating system corruption and you would like to salvage the data on it before repairing or re-installing Windows. This article explains how to recover the data using the Sophos SafeGuard Disk Encryption emergency tools.

Before starting this procedure:

Step 1: Is there important information on the hard disk that hasn’t been backed up?

If no, reinstall the operating system and use your backups to restore the data on the hard disk. This procedure is faster and easier than attempting to restore data that hasn’t been backed up. Please refer to Windows documentation for more details about how to proceed.

If yes, please go to step 2 and don’t panic! You need to keep a cool head in order to rescue the data on the hard disk. If you follow these steps in order, you will probably be able to salvage your data.

Please note that the steps below have been developed as a safe way of accessing your data: any other remedial steps you may take are not supported by Sophos and may cause irreparable system damage.

Step 2: When you switch on your computer, is the PBA displayed after the BIOS?

If yes, please go to step 3.

If no, please see Sophos SDE: restoring the PBA before continuing this procedure.

Step 3: At the PBA, enter your username and password.

If the username and password are accepted, go to step 4.

If the username or password you enter does not work (and it’s worked before), try the following, in order:

  1. Check the keyboard layout being used. If the keyboard layout was recently changed in Windows, you will need to use the keys from the old layout to enter your password. The keyboard keys need to be the same, not the letters in the password. For more information, please see the SDE help topic 'The effectsof different keyboard layouts'.

  2. If you cannot remember which keys to use from the old keyboard layout, press the F2 key to try to log in as another user.

  3. If you have tried and you simply cannot log in, you can try:

    or

    • try opening the data using BartPE before repairing Windows. Place the BartPE CD into the CD tray in your computer and then see step 5 for more information.

Step 4: Does Windows start up?

If Windows loads normally after you log in to the PBA, back up the data you want to save and then repair or reinstall Windows as appropriate.

  • You could also decrypt the drive and then connect the decrypted hard disk as a slave drive to another computer and simply access your data via the Windows explorer.

If Windows does not load normally, try restarting the system and then, after logging into the PBA, start pressing the F8 key until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears. Select ‘Safe mode’ and then select the operating system to start. Does Windows start?

If yes, save the data that you are interested in saving and then repair or reinstall Windows as appropriate.

If Windows does not start:

    • If you are trying to log in after an interrupted encryption, please contact Sophos Technical Support, who will guide you through the rest of the process.

    • If you have recently installed or modified VPN, network or authentication software, you may have a logon conflict. Please see Sophos SafeGuard Disk Encryption (SDE): SDE does not work properly with third-party software that requires user logon for more information.

    • If you see the Windows ‘blue screen’, a fatal error has occurred. More than likely, you have recently installed software or a driver that conflicts with something already installed on the PC. Try booting into Safe mode again and then resolve the software conflict. If you have recently installed or modified VPN, network or authentication software, you could have a logon conflict. Please see Sophos SafeGuard Disk Encryption (SDE): SDE does not work properly with third-party software that requires user logon for more information.
    • Otherwise, this is a problem with the Windows operating system, not with Sophos SDE, so you will have to either contact Microsoft for technical support or attempt to fix the problem yourself. Tip: use the F8 key to output a detailed description of the error. This is the end of the SDE recovery guide for your problem.
    • Try restarting Windows and press F8 to access the Windows Advanced Options menu. Select ‘Load last known good configuration’ and then select the operating system to start. If you can now access your data, back it up and then repair or reinstall Windows. If you cannot, it would seem that Windows is incapable of starting. Place the BartPE CD into the CD tray in your computer and then restart the computer, and then go to step 5.

Step 5: Using BartPE to recover your data

Please contact Sophos technical support for a copy of the Sophos SafeGuard Disk Encryption BartPE CD image.

If pressing F7 does not allow you to use the BartPE CD, please see Sophos SafeGuard Disk Encryption (SDE): cannot boot from external media.

If this procedure did not work, then see Sophos SDE: data recovery in the event of physical disk failure or Sophos SDE: accessing data on a partitioned drive after reinstalling Windows.

For more information

For instructions on how to create an emergency USB stick, please see the SDE help topic 'How to create a bootable emergency USB memory stick' or section 24.5 of the SDE Admin guide.

For instructions on how to create an emergency floppy disk, please see the SDE help topic 'How to create a bootable emergency disk' or section 24.6 of the SDE Admin Guide.

 
If you need more information or guidance, then please contact technical support.

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