Can Truecrypt encrypt a full hard disk/drive , when/if incase it contains some 1) read/write errors ? 2) bad sectors ? Before or even if after , they are fixed and recovered by windows chkdsk etc...

Details : I’ve an all Empty Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB HDD , which I m trying to encrypt by Truecrypt, I m using it as an external HDD via USB 2.0 connection , ( by USB to ATA/ATAPI bridge , as it says in windows taskbar notification area..as it’s USB to SATA connection) The problem I m facing is HDD is detectable by my windows 7 normally for hours like , and when I start encrypting it by Truecrypt , It encrypts it for a while like 41%-50% till around , and then suddenly Truecrypt Volume creation wizard says – “The Device is not ready “ , and then HDD isn’t detectable by windows 7 after that , ( as it ejects ) , which otherwise performs normally and is detectable…

I thought might be there can be an error on drive or bad sector…

So Then I ran a couple of Diagonistic tests too to check

1) Windows Chkdsk reports - No errors and 0 bad sectors

2) Seagate Seatools “PASSES” it in all tests , from Short generic to Long generic test…

3) Ariolic disk scanner , at one scan , reported 62 read errors in one red dot block while scanning In its GUI interface rest all were green , and then stops the scan any further…

4) I’ve not given Spinrite yet a try…

Now I can’t make out What cud be the problem , and as though Why I can’t encrypt it… (Note : Also the disk is supposingly New and for it has been Replaced by Seagate in exchange of my earlier Seagate hard disk which was making noise , so they made a replacement under warranty ) This one works normally, but doesn’t lets me encrypt !

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  • If it's got bad sectors, throw it out. In Windows, make sure you run chkdsk with the /R switch (e.g. chkdsk A: /R). – Breakthrough Oct 15 '11 at 1:43
  • @Kaustubh It should still encrypt the good part of, like a normal drive., Here are the potential "gotchas": NO3. The full encryption option will not work, just do 'part of', your drive is unlikely to be 50% bad sectors-maybe just in the middle, try 2 volumes. – mic84 Oct 15 '11 at 6:48
  • @Breakthough ran chkdsk! before FDE nothing no improvement with encryption , no bad sectors are reported also by chkdsk /f/r .. already did it couple of times before running FDE – kaustubh Oct 15 '11 at 6:58
  • @mic84 i've reuploaded the images to different imagehost , now u can see...what it's like.. i.imgur.com/HAMQe.jpg i.imgur.com/1ZSXO.jpg i.imgur.com/82Ak9.jpg – kaustubh Oct 15 '11 at 7:20
  • Are you able to try plugging it directly into your computer to rule out the USB interface? – Dracs Nov 23 '11 at 8:26

It treats the drive the same way as a non-encrypted disk with or without ‘bad sectors’
Forum answer here
It should still encrypt part of:
Here are the potential "gotchas":NO3.
sorry,posted in wrong part,
It works like a normal drive, as if a folder or program could not write to a bad sector,
so they stop full encrypt as this would be a possible security risk/ try 2 or 3 smaller ones if can.
Your drive is unlikely to be 50% bad sectors-maybe just in the middle.

  • @Kaustubh-it's from the site,(image name and addvertising ) just don't like them jumping in, as i'm sure is the same with you. Did the link solve your question?. – mic84 Oct 15 '11 at 6:28
  • u said - It treats the drive the same way as a non-encrypted disk with or without ‘bad sectors’...means truecrypt treats drive with or without bad sectors same as non-encrypted disk with or without bad sectors.. – kaustubh Oct 15 '11 at 6:32
  • @kaustubh, yes that was my understanding of it. – mic84 Oct 15 '11 at 6:37
  • IN THAT LINK given by u - At very bottom it says - "if you have a drive which already has bad sectors on it, whole disk encryption will NOT encrypt those bad sectors, nor will you be able to erase them " ...Now What i m facing is when i m doing Full disk encryption everytime Encryption stops at 42% to 50%...it' not letting me encrypt....Does it means , Truecrypt doesn lets u encrypt Whole drive if it "Already" contains "some read/write errors or small bad sectors" already in non encrypted state...i mean why it everytime stops my encryption.. – kaustubh Oct 15 '11 at 6:38
  • i mean while making Full disk encryption , Does truecrypt halts encryption ? if it encounters a read error block or bad sector like ? or it shud 've marked it and continued encryption , cuz at my end encryption is always halting after every 2 hrs at some %age.. – kaustubh Oct 15 '11 at 6:48

If you have access to a linux machine, I'd try running a long offline test with smartctl. I'm sure there is an equivalent tool that works under windows, although I don't know the name of one.

I believe using SMART the disk does the error-checking itself. I use SpeedFan under Windows to view the drive's SMART data, but AFAIK SpeedFan can't trigger the error-checking of the drive.

I would question the safety of using a drive with bad sectors to store important data on though. If your data is valuable enough to encrypt, it should be valuable enough to put on a good drive that isn't likely to fail at any time. Beyond the hassle of recovering from a failed/unreliable drive, a 500Gb drive is about $60 ATM (Apr 2013). How much is your time worth?


The trick here is to use a tool that will scan the entire drive in read/write mode, and thus force any pending sectors to be remapped by the drive logic.

Truecrypt halts at the read error, and doesn't attempt to write the sector, so the drive never gets chance to remap the sector (which it only does on writes).

Since a normal CHKDSK /F shows no errors, the problem sector is probably in free space, you have a couple of no-cost options with increasing complexity and increasing chances of success:

Option 1

Use a free program to wipe free space on the drive (which should force that remap if the problem is in free space). Then try again.

This puts no data at risk.

Option 2

Obtain a Linux live cd boot it determine the designation of the drive in question using the disk management tool (probably /dev/sda if it's the machine's system drive) as root (root terminal or sudo) in the terminal use the command

badblocks -svn /dev/sda (substitute the actual device for /dev/sda)

let the long test run it reads each sector, writes to the sector (which will make the drive remap it if it's bad), then writes the original data back.

after the tests complete, boot back to windows and run chkdsk /f it's just possible the first test can corrupt a file if it got a bad read on a sector and wrote the corrupt data back to the remapped one.

Try again, Truecrypt should complete, unless your drive ran out of spare sectors, in which case it's in dire shape and needs replacing. In this condition, assuming SMART is enabled, you'd also be getting SMART errors at start-up, telling you to back up your data and replace the drive.

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