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How to format my encrypted HDD?

By smurf038 · 13 replies
Apr 8, 2017
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  1. A long time ago I encrypted my hard drive but I have forgotten my encryption password.

    How can I format my encrypted HDD?

  2. hkhan1989

    hkhan1989 TS Enthusiast Posts: 31   +24

    Really depends on the encryption software used to encrypt it.
    If we are talking about Microsoft's bitlocker, you can delete and create a new parition via the disk part command and then recreate a new partition in Windows Disk management.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,107   +1,589

    This is the typical approach for this specific issue; lost password.
  4. gusticles41

    gusticles41 TS Evangelist Posts: 442   +519

    I can only speak out of experience regarding Bitlocker, but you don't even need to use disk part if you're reinstalling the OS. During the drive/partition management step of the OS install you can easily format a bitlocked drive. If it's just a storage drive, hkhan's suggestion will do the trick.
  5. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,485   +1,072

    Unless the drive itself has security, then yes. As long as you can access the whole drive (encrypted or not) from your OS, you can format it.
  6. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,254   +699

    Unless I'm mistaken, most Unix-based partition management programs won't care if a drive is encrypted and you want to reformat it. They tend to trust the user more, so long as you use the right terminal commands.
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,107   +1,589

    The point of deleting the partition is to deactivate all protection and bypass encryption altogether :grin:
  8. OutlawCecil

    OutlawCecil TS Evangelist Posts: 711   +517

    Encryption is still just data on the drive, that can be wiped. The point of encryption is that the data is not usable, not that it's protected from being overridden.
  9. TheBigT42

    TheBigT42 TS Maniac Posts: 341   +240

    Why even ask this question? Just try it!
    Burty117 and DaveBG like this.
  10. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,972   +581

    Drive level encryption requires the key to access the drive at all. The drive is effectively bricked without it. Laptops BIOS generally allows access to this feature. Many desktop boards do not expose that feature.

    That means a drive level encrypted drive moved into a desktop without support with the feature means you can't use the drive without removing the password first.
  11. trgz

    trgz TS Addict Posts: 264   +69

    I'd have said that you simply could delete the partition and then recreate it - voila and no need to struggle with reformatting.
    Update - I just tried it and I was correct. I created a new partition, bitlocked it, rebooted and it was locked. I then deleted the partition whilst it was locked and recreated it and it's not locked (obviously!)
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
  12. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,972   +581

    That's software encryption not hardware encryption.

    Samsung for example supports BIOS level encryption but they also allow you to Secure Erase to recover the drive. This is not necessarily typical and I wouldn't expect this to work for a HDD for example.

    Some systems or BIOS may not support this feature.
    . How to set up AES encryption
    - In BIOS, Security > Password on boot > HDD Password (※May differ depending on the BIOS)
    . The encryption key set for the AES is stored in the NAND of the SSD. If the key is lost, you can only reset the encryption key by performing a Secure Erase.
    If you do so, all existing data will be lost.
  13. trgz

    trgz TS Addict Posts: 264   +69

    Sound point, though the OP doesn't go into detail as to what level and most other comments above are re Bitlocker
  14. smurf038

    smurf038 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The problem is that windows don`t this disk, it`s externdisk

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