PGP Whole Disk Encryption - Drive Recovery

Although rare, situations have occurred where a hard drive encrypted with PGP does not boot.  To assist in recovery of these drives, the creation and use of a PGP Boot Disk is highly recommended.

Please note that each version of PGP requires a boot disk unique to the particular version in use on the client.  For example, if you attempt to use a 9.6 recovery disk to decrypt a disk protected with PGP Whole Disk Encryption 9.9 software, any data on the PGP Whole Disk Encrypted 9.9 disk will be unrecoverable.

Note:  If you do not remember the recovery passphrase, please contact the help desk, AskIT, by email AskIT@uab.edu, or by phone, 205-996-5555.

Create a Recovery Boot Disk

  1. Download the appropriate ISO file from the Symantec archives:
    a) Version 10.x: http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH152604
    b) Version 9.X: http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH148915
  2. Burn the ISO to a CD, label it appropriately and store it in a safe place.

Using a Recovery Boot Disk

  1. Insert your Recovery CD into the computer's CD drive.
  2. Reboot the computer and boot to the CD.
  3. When the login screen appears, enter the recovery passphrase for the encrypted drive and press Enter to begin decryption.  This operation can take many hours and the system should not be powered off.
  4. Once the process is complete, the system should start as normal.  If the operating system still does not boot, proceed with your operating system repair or data migration process.

Using a Recovery Workstation

If you have the resources or equipment available, the hard drive from the system that will not boot can be accessed by a workstation that has PGP installed on it.  Simply connect the device using a USB hard drive bay or adapter, and enter a passphrase associated with the drive.  Once the hard drive is mounted to the recovery system, files can be recovered by moving them or by decrypting the hard drive.

Last modified on September 28, 2012