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Unreadable sectors Error

Topics: Technical Issues, Users Discussion
Jul 15, 2016 at 10:53 PM
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Hi everyone. I got this error while encrypting my PC and I don't really understand what it means.

The message says: "existing data in the damaged sections might remain unencrypted on the drive."

But at the same time it says that VeraCrypt will be writing zeros to the unreadable sectors. I find this to be very blurry. Is it going to be overwriting the damaged parts with zeros, so that they're simply wiped clean?

Or does it mean that it can't do anything about the damaged sectors and that they'll remain unencrypted through the whole process, and that ultimately people can see them? (If they were to get ahold of my drive)

Clarification would be very helpful, since Im simply not sure if Im safe here or not. Thanks in advance.
Jul 17, 2016 at 3:03 PM
Edited Jul 17, 2016 at 3:11 PM
You are not safe, you should make a backup of all your data and obtain a new hard drive.

The window describes how the process of "repairing" the damaged blocks work. Whenever disk firmware detects unreadable sectors, it remebers they are bad, but it cannot know if there are important data or not (same as truecrypt cannot know this), so disk controller rather waits when software tries to write to those marked sectors and it will trasparently relocate them to the spare sectors. With writing zeros to unreadable areas, veracrypt will force the disk logic to reloacate, but the zreos will actually be written to the spare sectors instead and the original bad sectors will still hold the otiginal information, but it can be accessed by special software or special device. If there have been sensitive information, it remains there forever and cannot be overwritten.

This is a sign you should backup all important data, no longer trust your hard drive, and if it contained sensitive data, you should overwrite what you can and physically destroy it.
Jul 18, 2016 at 11:51 AM
testoslav wrote:
You are not safe, you should make a backup of all your data and obtain a new hard drive.

The window describes how the process of "repairing" the damaged blocks work. Whenever disk firmware detects unreadable sectors, it remebers they are bad, but it cannot know if there are important data or not (same as truecrypt cannot know this), so disk controller rather waits when software tries to write to those marked sectors and it will trasparently relocate them to the spare sectors. With writing zeros to unreadable areas, veracrypt will force the disk logic to reloacate, but the zreos will actually be written to the spare sectors instead and the original bad sectors will still hold the otiginal information, but it can be accessed by special software or special device. If there have been sensitive information, it remains there forever and cannot be overwritten.

This is a sign you should backup all important data, no longer trust your hard drive, and if it contained sensitive data, you should overwrite what you can and physically destroy it.
Thank you for the reply. When you say that Im not safe, are you only talking about the harddrive crashing? Or are you saying that parts of my HD are unencrypted?
Jul 19, 2016 at 10:09 AM
Edited Jul 19, 2016 at 10:10 AM
Tyler218 wrote:
Thank you for the reply. When you say that Im not safe, are you only talking about the harddrive crashing? Or are you saying that parts of my HD are unencrypted?
Both. The drive will be dead soon and those unreadable sectors were not encrypted or overwritten, so if they held part of sensitive data before, the still hold it. Those sectors are not readable, so I'd worry more about the failing disk,

I'd suggest having some fun with torx screwdriver and/or a hammer ;-)