Second Thoughts on Installing CDE?

Here’s my story with CDE…

I was looking for an application that would allow me to encrypt my portable Western Digital 500 GB hard drive since I had decided against using the software that came w/ the drive.

I instinctively went to Comodo since I use Comodo Internet Security and Secure Email.

After reading the product summary I downloaded and installed the CDE application.

The install went fine on my Windows 7 64 bit Dell Inspiron.

I then started the encryption process on the drive and found that it was taking a painfully long time. After a few hours, I began to wonder if something was wrong w/ th software because the progress bar showed about 1/1000 of completion.

I logged into the help forum and began reading the CDE related posts. Wish I had done this first before installing the software. The more I read, the more concerned I grew that I was going to totally hose my portable drive and maybe my main CPU as well. I decided to wait until the encryption process was done before trying to do anything like decrypting or removing the software.

About 36 hours later, my 500 GB drive was successfully encrypted. During the encryption time I took extreme care not to do anything foolish to crash, disconnect or turnoff either the portable hard drive or my main CPU.

I was especially concerned about corrupting the master boot record like some other posts had mentioned. I decided to play it safe and decrypt the drive and remove the software. Here’s the order in which I successfully did it:

  1. I first created a Windows System Repair Disk using the tool in the Maintenance folder…just in case I ran into a master boot record problem.
  2. I then created a Recovery iso using the tool in CDE and saved it to a networked laptop.
  3. Next, I began the decrypt process…36 hours later it finished.
  4. I then ran the Uninstall tool for CDE which successfully completed. A popup will follow that asks you to restart the machine…don’t restart yet.
  5. I disconnected or turned off all my USB hard drives to avoid any sort of conflict.
  6. I rebooted the machine…luckily everything booted normally and the master boot record looks like it was not corrupted.

After rebooting, I attached my external drives, including my portable that I had earlier encrypted/decrypted. I had no problem opening and viewing files, so I don’t think I damaged anything w/ CDE. I have since done a few more test restarts and have not had any problems yet…24 hrs after removing CDE.

Lesson learned: If you want to encrypt your portable hard drive, make sure the drive has its own built in software to do it. Research well before buying, including checking out the help forums for the product you consider. This will hopefully save you the agony of losing data or having to reformat your OS drive.

The type of drive I’ll buy will be one that does not require software to be installed on the host cpu…I understand there are several on the market that do this…my research continues.