Backup Strategy - True Image 11 + Truecrypt + Full Disk Encryption ?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by xvvvz, Apr 19, 2008.

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  1. xvvvz

    xvvvz Registered Member

    Apr 19, 2008
    I have searched through the threads here and am confused by any threads that try to address the following:

    What is the least complicated strategy for completely backing up a fully encrypted drive on a laptop running Vista Home Premium, please? I have a laptop with a 160 gb drive, Acronis Trueimage 11, a 500 gb external hard drive (attached via USB 2.0). The laptop drive has NO partitions and the entire drive has been fully encrypted via Truecrypt 5.1a (latest). No separate containers have been created.

    My thought was that I could just boot via the Truecrypt bootable CD and then create a full computer backup to the external hard drive using a sector by sector image strategy. I don't care if it will take longer, use 160 gb of space, and require me to backup outside of the Windows environment. I am not interested in complicating things by hiding it into a Truecrypt container on the external drive either.

    All of threads I have read which start to address this plan seem to splinter off into recommendations for placing the file in a container, creating a workflow that works from within Windows, etc.

    Is it not possible to create a sector by sector image of the drive and then restore that image to the drive (thus fully overwriting everything) when needed via the bootable CD? Will it not boot up? It seems I must be missing something because the other threads get into lots of complications.

    Thanks for any targeted advice you can provide.
  2. jeremyotten

    jeremyotten Registered Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    1. Make online images with compression
    2. build bartpe cd with truecrypt to restore image

  3. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

    Apr 28, 2004
    Hello xvvvz,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    We are sorry for delayed response.

    It is indeed possible to back up and restore an encrypted hard drive in sector by sector mode, as you described.

    Thank you.
    Marat Setdikov
  4. zedd

    zedd Registered Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    I have just run a backup inside Windows on a fully encrypted drive and found that the image contains unencrypted data. That means TI gets access to the disks sectors in a state where they are already decrypted. TI does not seem to notice the encryption at all. I did not try a restore until now, only mounted the image on an other machine without Truecrypt. There I was able to access the data in the image and verified I could see the content of some files. It may still be possible that there are problems with the boot loader after a restore.
    For me this is fine because I can do my backups as I did before and without wasting disk space for empty but encrypted sectors. I also have no need to get my backups in an encrypted state but this would also be possible with truecrypt.
  5. dantz

    dantz Registered Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    (Please note the above corrections, which is what I think you meant to say.) This should work fine. Just make sure the ATI rescue disk recognizes your external hard drive and can restore an image from it when desired.

    However (and here comes the complication), running a full-scale test, including a test restore, would be very a good idea. The safest approach would be to buy or borrow another internal hard drive, remove your current drive, install the new drive and do a test restore to that drive, just to make sure everything works as expected.

    For added redundancy you could also make a normal backup from within Windows and store it in a safe place (since it will be unencrypted). (edit: save it to DVDs, for example. If desired they could be destroyed after you have fully tested your methodology).

    Simplest approach of all: Use the version of Acronis Workstation that supports AES encryption of image files, and create your images from within Windows.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2008
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