I have a hard drive with a partition that has been encrypted, which is eating a lot of resources. My question is: if I format the entire drive, will the encrypted partition become restored (unencrypted)? Or will it still be encrypted, even after formatting, which means having to take the drive back to the service provider that encrypted it in the first place (IT from a former workplace), potentially giving access to sensitive information to 3rd parties?

I don't care about the data on it, I just want the entire drive back.

Thank you.


That depends on how the drive is encrypted. If it's done by the OS, you can delete the partition, create a new one without encryption and format it.

If it's done using the SATA commands, you need to visit the BIOS.

That said: A new 1TB disk costs less than $100. I'm not sure what your salary is like but it's probably cheaper to order a new drive and just drop the old one in the trash.

But I'd try with the "delete partition" approach first. We just have one planet and it contains only so many hard disks in it's shell.

  • Just went ahead and did it. The partition was encrypted with TrueCrypt which, when the volume that hosts the partition is not mounted, just lays there like a huge jerk and eats resources. Mocking me. Judging me... Anyway, formatting the partition with the unmounted volume destroyed the encryption and I can now get back the 120GB that laid around doing nothing.
    – Ragnar
    Apr 29 '11 at 14:02

It'll be encrypted.
You can't just erase the "encryption", so it becomes unencrypted. It's not some sort of "curtain". The whole drive is like random bytes, unless you have the key to decrypt it.

If you format the drive, and EVEN manage to get back 100% the previous state, you STILL have to decrypt ALL the drive with the former key.

So ...no worries about it.

  • He's not asking about recovering the data; he's just trying to create a new, blank, unencrypted partition in place of the old encrypted partition.
    – cjm
    Apr 29 '11 at 8:40

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