Help needed recovering a TrueCrypt non-system partition from an external drive

Discussion in 'encryption problems' started by Nuno, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. Nuno

    Nuno Registered Member

    Aug 12, 2015

    I've lost access to an encrypted partition on an external drive, a few years ago, and now it's time to finally try to recover that data. Maybe one of the experts here can provide some guidance. Any help will be appreciated.

    I am using TrueCrypt on a pc running Windows 7 Pro, but the drive may very well have been formatted using Windows XP Pro, on a previous machine. If that info is relevant to the problem, I can try to figure it out, basically trying to find receipts for both the external drive (HD and enclosure) and the 'new' pc itself. The dates on those will allow me to see what was bought first.

    It's a plain TrueCrypt encrypted partition, nothing hidden.

    And now we go into the 'how stupid am I' bit: I don't seem to have ANY header backups! I'm hoping this is 'just' a MBR problem and, as such, can be fixed without messing with the TrueCrypt side of things...

    The external drive is a 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (ST3500630A) on a A.C.Ryan enclosure.

    It has 2 partitions. The bigger one is encrypted, the small one is clear. I can't access neither with windows.

    According to Recuva:

    Drive G - seems to be the encrypted partition (Recuva can't see anything there)
    Drive H - the clear partition (Recuva was able to recover those files)

    The partitions show up on TrueCrypt too:

    Partition1 G: 368 GB
    Partition1 H: 97.7 GB

    When I try to mount the encrypted partition the password is rejected.

    I'm pretty sure I used windows itself to handle partitioning and formatting, and then used TrueCrypt to do a full partition encryption.

    I've tried to describe everything as best as I can remember, but I'm sure there will be more questions. Please, bring them on.

    At the time the problem happened, a few years ago, not having a lot of time (and certainly no expertise), I ended up not doing much. I seemed to suspect of a MBR problem, although I'm not sure how I came to that conclusion, but I never tried to fix it, fearing I'd be making things worse, rendering the data unrecoverable.

    Probably my first move, now, should be to secure a full backup of the encrypted partition, before messing around with it. How, and with what software, should I do that?

    If it's a MBR problem the backup itself should work once it's on a new physical location, right?

    Anyway, I really hope someone here can shed some light into this mess.