Can a drive that is encrypted with software-based full disk encryption be cloned?
December 9, 2008 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Can a drive that is encrypted with software-based full disk encryption be cloned?

I have a laptop with a hard drive that is encrypted with software-based full disk encryption (Utimaco SafeGuard Easy), and I want to upgrade to a faster and larger drive. Can the entire drive be cloned without unencrypting the drive? Will I be able to clone to a larger drive? I am not able to remove/modify/reconfigure the encryption software, as it was installed by the IT overlords.

(For extra points, any suggestions for open-source/free cloning software?)
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I don't know the answer to the first question, though my suspicion is that you'll need to unencrypt it in order to take advantage of the extra space...

For the second question, check out TrueCrypt. It's super.
posted by paanta at 7:46 AM on December 9, 2008

I see no reason why a bit level clone wouldn't work, but you may run into partition resize issues due to the encryption. Have you tried asking the "IT overlords" for assistance? Sometimes, and ONLY sometimes, they(we) can be very helpful.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:54 AM on December 9, 2008

What kind of laptop is it?

If it's a Dell, with MediaDirect, there are additional things you need to consider.

Here's a link to a question about my troubles upgrading Laptop hard drives with a Host Protected Area.

I apologize if you knew all this already, but it really helped me, and I wanted to pass it on.

I am just speculating, but I would imagine you would run into trouble upscaling partitions with the encryption on the drive, as Cat Pie Hurts said.
posted by WilliamWallace at 8:57 AM on December 9, 2008

I've never tried to clone an encrypted hard drive, but the rest of my answer applies to drive cloning in general.

Clonezilla is open-source and free (and super flexible: drive<>drive, drive<>network, drive<>usb drive, etc.). It's a free Linux live CD, and i'm pretty sure you'd just wind up with a second equally-encrypted hard drive.

Drive Image XML is free Windows software. It's a bit less powerful (drive to drive only, requires Windows) but a ton easier to use.
posted by mysterious1der at 10:39 AM on December 9, 2008

You can probably clone it, but your new drive will appear the same size as the old one. You need to find someone familiar with Utimaco SafeGuard Easy (perhaps those IT overlords you mentioned) to tell you what tools will work for expanding the encrypted partition and filesystem to take advantage of your new space.
posted by PueExMachina at 3:19 PM on December 9, 2008

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