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My laptop ran it's battery out last night and this morning I have a "Error Loading Operating System" right after the Lenovo bootscreen. Usually this would be where the Truecrypt password prompt would appear. Well, shoot, I'm royally screwed here.

I grabbed a copy of Winternals ERD Commander and loaded it up but it can't find the existing operating system or any drive letters. So booting from that CD proved futile. I was thinking about using a Ubuntu Live CD (don't have at the moment) since it loads NTFS and I could pull data out that way.... but then I remembered I'm 256-bit AES encrypted. Joy.

Any options? I don't want to reformat as I have a few folders I NEED to save/extract/recover. Any fast and dirty way to repair the MBR or any other issue related?

History:

  • No windows patches installed to my knowledge since last laptop reboot, but it's been a while and auto-update is turned on.

  • I checked the BIOS for boot order, drive recognition, and even passed the Lenovo Disk check thru bios. So it's there... just can't get to it.

  • Heavily encrypted. I'm guessing TrueCrypt corrupted something :(

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TrueCrypt runs on Ubuntu too. I've never used it, and I don't know whether there's anything that would prevent the Ubuntu version from decrypting a drive encrypted under Windows, but with a cursory search I couldn't find any reason why it couldn't work, so it's worth a try. –  user55325 May 14 '11 at 3:45
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As a side note, going by the name BlackHat and referring to your 'heavily encrypted' system is a good way to get your government to assist you in recovering your documents ;) –  Blomkvist May 14 '11 at 4:16
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3 Answers

You can run Ubuntu off a LiveCD/USB, install TrueCrypt to access your drive and pull out what you need.

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I missed what windows version you're trying to recover. I'll guess windows 7.

There's lots of different things you can normally try but in your situation you'll almost certainly come down to one of two fixes.

The first one:

boot with your win 7 dvd and select "recover your computer"

open the command prompt and type

bootrec.exe /fixmbr

remove the dvd and reboot

If it doesn't work, try the next 'solution'

The second one

Completely fill your hdd with zeros. Your device manufacturer should have the software to do this on their website.

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This is what the Rescue Disk is for. You should have created one when you encrypted the system.

Even if you haven't one, I believe you can launch TrueCrypt from Ubuntu and create it from there.

Note: my notebook usually shows "Boot error" when booting after hibernation. Pressing Return sends it to the password screen.

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