Encryption: How To Recover Data from an Encrypted Device that won’t start

Use of this procedure is entirely at your own risk

This procedure and the application “Wintech” if used incorrectly can and will cause irrecoverable data loss

Howto: Recover Data from an Encrypted Device that won’t start


Recovering data from an encrypted laptop, in this scenario you are attempting to recover data from a laptop which has died during or after encryption.  The hdd is still functioning although it can have bad sectors, with bad sectors you can only recover data located on good parts of the disc.

Tools Required:


  1. Connect suitable USB storage onto which you will copy the files
    • You may have to experiment with having the USB storage connected when the device boots or plugging it in just after booting the WINTECH cd as this can be a temperamental system.
    • You may have to set the SATA controller to AHCI or Legacy/IDE to get the hard disc to be recognized.
  2. Boot the device using the WINTECH cd
  3. Obtain the code of the day – Visit http://faq.scomis.org/kb4849/ to obtain the code
  4. Launch Wintech from the start menu once
  5. Enter the code for the day to unlock the features
  6. You then need to authenticate using one of the following options:
    • Authenticate from SBFS – always try this option first
      • Click onto Wintech > Authenticate from SBFS
      • Logon with selected token “password only token”
      • Enter the users encryption username and password
    • Authenticate from Database – Scomis need to provide you with a machine export file from the central server to use this option and it should only be used when the “Authenticate from SBFS” method fails
      • When the Select Transfer Database window opens, ensure that the correct system configuration is on the disk.
      • Select the correct system configuration, then click OK.
      • When the Select Machine window opens, confirm that the correct name is listed (there should only be one name listed).
      • Click Use Selected Machine.
  1. Choose Disk > Mount drive
  2. Select the encrypted partition (normally marked C: / alg 12)
  3. Minimise Wintech
  4. Launch a43 file viewer
  5. Copy files and folders needed from bad hdd to external usb disc
  6. If this does not resolve the issue either:
    • Accept data loss and re-image then re-encrypt the device – remember to let Scomis know if you take this route to avoid a duplicate device being charge to your school.
    • Telephone the Scomis Service Desk and log an incident advising what steps you have taken etc.  We can offer to bring the laptop back to Scomis for investigation with the Recovery Media, Backup Media, Power Supply Etc. – this is a chargeable service

Note: if the laptop had failed and will not boot even off a CD you could connect the hard drive to a working sytem using a USB SATA/IDE adapter and run Wintech from within Windows following a similar procedure to the one described below.


Reviewed on 27/07/2016

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Posted in Encryption, Services, Support.