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WIndows 10 installation formated an encrypted volume

Topics: Technical Issues, Users Discussion
Mar 18, 2016 at 8:14 PM
Hi,

I just installed windows 10 and it formated a VeraCrypt encrypted assuming it was an empty unformated partition. I lost all my data.

No, I made no mistake. Windows installation was in SSD1. Encrypted partition was in HDD2.
After windows was installed i found out windows formated my VC volume and moved to that partition a folder named 'restore'. WTF?

Have anyone been through this before?
Is there any chance I can recover that partition?
Is there a way to prevent windows from wrongly assuming a partition is empty and formating it?
Mar 18, 2016 at 8:58 PM
Have you tried mounting the volume using the embedded backup header using mount options?

Depending how much disk space the Windows restore folder took, you may have lost data unless you have backups.

The only way I know to avoid Windows installation from automatically formatting an encrypted drive is to disconnect the drive from the computer.
Mar 18, 2016 at 11:15 PM
Edited Mar 18, 2016 at 11:16 PM
500Gb of data lost.
I've been using truecrypt since very early. Nothing like this ever happened to me.
VeraCrypt should warn users on this issue.

something like "WARNING: WINDOWS SETUP BOOT MAY OVERWRITE ENCRYPTED PARTITIONS MISTAKING IT FOR 'UNFORMATED' EVEN BEFORE ANY CHOICE IS GIVEN TO THE USER. BEFORE BOOTING A WINDOWS SETUP DISCONECT DRIVES CONTAINING ENCRYPTED PARTITION. WINDOWS SETUP MAY ERASE THOSE PARTITIONS WITHOUT PROMPT"

Even though that drive/partition have nothing to do with the installation process.

Let my tragedy be a lesson.
Mar 20, 2016 at 2:40 AM
I learn my lesson and just figure that I lost 750GB of data :-(
Same scenario -> encrypted partition on HDD2 and installing Windows 10 on SSD1.
Until I figured what happened damage was done and restoring embedded backup header did not work.

Thinking one step further... If I try to install Hidden Win10 OS.
Will the same thing happen with Hidden OS partition during installation of Windows 10 as a Outer OS?
Mar 20, 2016 at 3:22 AM
dvolaric wrote:
Thinking one step further... If I try to install Hidden Win10 OS.
Will the same thing happen with Hidden OS partition during installation of Windows 10 as a Outer OS?
Yes. If I remember correctly, VeraCrypt copies the existing OS to the hidden OS and then at a later stage prompts you to install the OS again on the outer/decoy OS to remove all traces of previous actions and encrypts the decoy.
Mar 20, 2016 at 12:29 PM
dvolaric wrote:
I learn my lesson and just figure that I lost 750GB of data :-(
Same scenario -> encrypted partition on HDD2 and installing Windows 10 on SSD1.
Until I figured what happened damage was done and restoring embedded backup header did not work.
I really think VeraCrypt team should HIGHLIGHT the data-loss prevention in future release and issue warnings!

This scenario is catastyrophic: Boot your machine with 2 drives: 1 SSD (for windows installation) and 1 HDD containing encrypted partition.
Once you boot the Windows installation IT WILL ERASE YOUR ENCRYPTED HDD PARTITION WITHOUT ANY WARNING, EVEN BEFORE YOU CAN INTERACT WITH THE INSTALLER.

We all know this is a windows setup issue, not VeraCrypt. But it would be of good sense if VeraCrypt warn it's users of the potential irreversible damage windows setup can do.
Mar 22, 2016 at 11:41 PM
Edited Mar 23, 2016 at 12:25 AM

Mar 24, 2016 at 5:48 PM
Edited Mar 24, 2016 at 5:49 PM
This is really interesting and good to know. This happens with all "unformatted" (raw) partition(s) created from within windows (with type 07), or when you have encrypted the whole hdd deivce?

I used exactly the same scenario (install w10 onto ssd with 1tb hdd encrypted and connected too) and all I my data are still there! So, you either must have done something wrong, or I must have been very lucky, because I always change partition type from 07 (ntfs) to some other number windows do understand. Funny, I did this to prevent windows from assigning a letter and avoid wrongly answering the question "do you want to format?"

So now windows 10 do not ask questions and shoot on sight? I never believed them, but are they really that evil? :-(

I don't know guys where you would like the warning displayed, but It could be nice feature if veracrypt could change partition type itself (as scramdisk did). This would prevent data damage, because windows clearly do not touch partitions they don't know. I use linux live cd and fdisk to change the partition types, but it's not very user friendly.

I think there is still good chance to get your data back, if you remeber how you created the partitions and you can repeat the process. From previous mistakes I did myself I have learned it is best to write down my partition layout from fdisk command to the sticker on a drive. Now I can simply recreate partitions again using fdisk from the sticker, then use backup header and I'm good to go.
Mar 24, 2016 at 9:57 PM
I learn my lesson and just figure that I lost 750GB of data :-(
Same scenario -> encrypted partition on HDD2 and installing Windows 10 on SSD1.
dvolaric won't let me lie here!
It DOES happens!

However, I did some test over again to check the fact and after doing the same steps windows setup did not formated my VC volume as in the 1st time.
I don't really know what is the story here. The SSD was brandy new, maybe there is something related here (?).

I am an old monkey in IT field. I'm 200% sure I did not format my VC volume by mistake.
After booting windows setup disk my VC volume was gone for good.

Well, in doubt, I won't boot windows setup disk again with a encrypted volume connected until we know what is really going on.
Mar 24, 2016 at 10:06 PM
Did you perhaps do a system restore and forget to tell it to ignore particular disks / partitions?
Mar 25, 2016 at 1:15 AM
Edited Mar 25, 2016 at 1:16 AM
I never use system restore. Never. I have it disabled as a matter of fact.
I'm an advanced user. I've been installing windows and linux since mid 90s.
I can assure you guys windows installer formated that VC partition EVEN THOUGH THAT PARTITION WAS IN A DIFFERENT HDD HAVING NOTHING TO DO WITH THE INSTALLATION PROCESS.
Apr 1, 2016 at 9:52 PM
Man, you really scare us to death ;) I will have to try to repeat that myself on my next windows reinstall...
Apr 2, 2016 at 12:35 AM
Edited Apr 2, 2016 at 12:36 AM
Well I learnt my lesson. 500gb lost. Not to boot Windows installation disk with an encrypted partition connected.
It may or may not happen. I won't risk it again.