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Sophos Disk Encryption (Decryption)

  • Author: Terry Paine
  • Create Time: 06/18/2010 12:47:11
  • Last Update Time: 06/18/2010 12:47:11

With Sophos disk encryption there are 3 possible ways to be able to decrypt or be able to access the data from the Hard drive.

Tools needed:

1: Bart-PE W/Sophos Safeguard easy.

2: Win-PE/for sophos disk encryption

3: sophos encryption disk emergency recovery tools

All the tools and software can be found on the sophos knowledge base or by contacting sophos tech support. The Bart-PE disk requires you to build a custom version of the software, which can be accomplished by downloading PE Builder, you can get this on-line.

Firstly method we will start with Bart-PE. which will boot into a small operating system which is contained on the disk, this will give you access to the data

  • Boot the computer and wait for the prompt to appear in the top right corner, it should tell you to hit F2 to interrupt autologon. This will basically redirect you to the sophos encryption login screen.
  • once in here you can put the custom Bart-PE disk inside the drive.
  • Enter the correct credentials (these credentials must be and administrator or System user account and not the help desk user account),
  • then hit the F7 key, and this will boot straight to the CD and into the Bart-PE environment. 
  • once you have fully booted into Bart-PE you will see a GO sign in the bottom left corner, once clicked on will bring up a menu which is similar to the Start menu in windows. It is in this menu you can access you data to so you can back up to an external drive.  

NOTE: Some Dell laptops/desktops do not support this function and therefore an alternative method would have to be attempted.

Second Method is using a custom version of Win-PE which you can get from the sophos tech support team.

NOTE: This method requires knowledge of the command prompt as this will be you method of accessing and transferring the data.

  • Start the computer with the Win-PE disk inside the drive, (make sure that the CD/DVD drive is set to 1st on the boot priority settings in the BIOS) Once the machine starts it should boot directly from the CD/DVD.
  • The first screen you sell should be the system recovery options screen, this should remain as is, just hit next.
  • then the next box will try to load an operating system, this should remain blank and hit next again.
  • The final window should contain the options. The option we need should be located at the very bottom and the title should read SGE/SDE Recovery Login. Click in this option.
  • once selected a window should appear that will have a space to enter your Sophos disk encryption credentials, this like the first method should be an administrator or a System user and not the help desk user account.
  • if the credentials were successfully ot should take you straight back to the options screen. it is here you can pick the Command Prompt options in here you can now access the data and start to move it to an external device. 

Third method is using the sophos encryption disk emergency recovery tools, this will enable you to create/repair any backup kernels, also it will give you the option to uninstall the encryption completely.

NOTE if you choose to install the encryption it can take several hours to complete and therefore should be used as a last resort.

  • This is a bootable disk so like in the last method make sure the the CD/DVD drive is set as the 1st boot device.
  • start the computer with the disk inside, and let it boot.
  • once booted you should be left with 4 options install, backup, restore and repair.

NOTE: some of the option might be grayed out depending on the credentials that you use(like the previous 2 Methods an administrator or System user account should be used and not the help desk account). Also the mouse will not work in this menu. So to select the different options use the TAB key and to select the option you need hit the enter key.


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