5 Replies Latest reply: Dec 2, 2013 6:06 AM by mmjlz RSS

    Reformat external drive and leave it unencrypted


      I have an external eSATA drive that I had connected to my laptop prior to having McAfee Endpoint Encryption installed. Not long after EE was installed, I noticed a lot of disk activity on my external drive so I tried to figure out what was causing it. I eventually discovered that EE was encrypting it as the well documented EE behaviour indicates that due to the OS recognizing the drive as internal, EE should encrypt it. This totally defeats the purpose of using an external drive as a back up but anyway...


      The drive was not completed encrypting (it was at %72) but I decided that I would format it on a home PC without McAfee EE and then just connect the drive via USB instead of eSATA. The problem is that if I format the drive on my W8 home PC, when I plug it into my work laptop it shows up as unformatted. If I format it on my work laptop, when I plug it into my home PC it again shows up as unformatted.


      At this point there's no data on the disk. I just want to be able to swap the disk between both my work laptop and my home PC and not have it encrypted at all. If tried a few different partitioning tools without success. I've tried partitioning as NTFS, exFAT, and FAT32 with no success.


      Any ideas?





        • 1. Re: Reformat external drive and leave it unencrypted

          The trick is that the disk is appearing as fixed storage. If it were removable storage then EE wouldn't care and would leave it alone. The manufacturer typically  sets that flag (not always but mostly). eSata drives will almost always show up as fixed drives. Even some USB storage will appear fixed because it is setup as a 'backup storage'. The format you choose is irrelevant. Incidentally you will need to either decrypt the drive fully or repartition it to make it useful again. In your case that's probably a repartition.


          Alternatively you will need to set EEPC policy to not format this particular volume. The whole point of encryption is that you are encrypting anything connected to a corporate PC... BY POLICY and that policy provides the Safe Harbor legal protections.


          Message was edited by: petersimmons on 11/23/13 11:09:49 PM EST
          • 2. Re: Reformat external drive and leave it unencrypted

            The reason your drive is appearing as unformatted is because there are the remanents of the encryption system on it - EEPC is detecting that and expecting the drive to be encrypted still, which is why it works if you format it on your work machine, but not if you format it on your home machine.


            I'm not sure if I should tell you how to fix this, because you seem to be trying to bypass the encryption your company set up? Maybe as Peter says, the best thing for you to do is get your IT department to uset encryption for that drive, they will should also know how to fix this half-protected state.

            • 3. Re: Reformat external drive and leave it unencrypted

              Thanks for the response, Safeboot. I do have a ticket open with my IT dept. They indicated that I need to wipe the MBR on the external drive. We recently outsourced our IT Helpdesk and they want to dispatch a tech to my location which I'm sure they will charge a significant amount for. I was hoping to avoid a call-out charge...

              • 4. Re: Reformat external drive and leave it unencrypted

                Wiping the MBR won't do anything to help this situation.

                • 5. Re: Reformat external drive and leave it unencrypted



                  to deal with this issue I use something like Partedmagic and use Erase Disk with nwipe method.

                  You dont have to wait until the nwipe is finished which could take several hours, it's enough to let it run for 2 minutes so it can delete the first blocks.

                  This has always worked for me.