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Partially Encrypted Laptop Drive With Electro-Mechanical Issues

Written by Corrie Theron on Tuesday, 21 January 2014. Posted in Hard Disk Data Recovery, Encrypted Disk Data Recovery

Case Study

left-quotesThursday morning my laptop no longer started up. I logged a call with our IT support and they informed me that there is an issue with McAfee encryption and that they need to decrypt and then backup the data and reinstall my laptop ect. They struggled for days and then sent my laptop to our security experts whom also struggled for days.
They were however confident that the hard drive is in a state that one should be able to recover the data, I then suggested that I get in touch with you guys since they have exhausted all their expertise in terms of attempting to restore the data and hence you guys are now sitting with my hard drive.

There is lots of business related data on my machine of which I have no backup as well as personal information, so ideally I’m looking for all the data."


This was quite a complicated recovery as the drive was encrypted and then failed due to an electro-mechanical issue while being decrypted leaving the drive still partially encrypted.
After fixing the electro-mechanical issue we were able to sector by sector clone the drive although slow due to a large number of bad sectors possibly aggravated by previous data recovery operations. We then had to manually locate the sectors up to where the original decryption process stopped – a labour intensive and time consuming process. The drive also contained previous user data further adding to the complexity of the recovery. All the data required was however in the end recovered.

About the Author

Corrie Theron

Corrie Theron

Corrie has been with Tecleo Data Recovery and Digital Forensic Lab since 2002. He is a senior engineer specialising data recovery and forensic investigations of servers (RAID, NAS, SAN), hard disk drives, solid-state disks, digital magnetic tapes, memory sticks (compact flash) and mobile devices (smartphones, mobile phones, cellular phones and tablets).