Sophos SafeGuard Disk Encryption (SDE): accessing data on a partitioned drive after reinstalling Windows

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  • Updated: 01 Jun 2009

After using the SDE Recovery guide, there are several scenarios where you may encounter problems accessing the data on your computer.

One such scenario is when you had partitioned your hard drive (using the C: drive for software and creating a D: drive for data, for example) and Sophos SafeGuard Disk Encryption (SDE) was not uninstalled from C: (the primary partition) before the operating system was reinstalled. This means that the data on the D: drive would still be encrypted, even though SDE was no longer present on C:.

The D: drive is still visible in Windows Explorer, but the data on it cannot be accessed.

What to do

If you have the most recent kernel backup for the affected computer, you will be able to decrypt the data on the D: drive and reinstall Windows on the computer again.

Unfortunately, if you do not have the most recent kernel backup, you cannot access the data on the encrypted drive. This is a security feature.

Using the SDE Emergency CD/USB/floppy to decrypt the partitioned drive

  1. Place the SDE Emergency CD/USB/floppy in the CD tray of the affected computer and restart the computer.
  2. At the authentication screen, log in as the system user.
  3. When the SDE Emergency disc window is displayed, select Uninstall.
  4. SDE will decrypt both (or all) the partitions that were previously encrypted.
  5. Once the decryption has succeeded, remove the hard disk from the computer and install it as a slave devicer in another PC in order to copy the important data and re-install Windows.

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

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