If you want to arrange it, this world you can change it. -Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Question #92928 posted on 03/01/2020 6:24 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I know y'all aren't tech experts but I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction.

I have an HP EliteBook that runs Windows 7 that I, unfortunately, managed to kill last week. (I dumped soy sauce on it accidentally and I'm pretty sure it shorted out something.) I unplugged it, took the battery out and opened it up. I was able to remove the harddrive (Samsung 2.5" 256GB SSD). I dried out and cleaned the best I could but upon reassembly it would not power up.

I'm giving up on the laptop itself, but I am hoping to recover files from the hard drive.

I have a cable to connect the SSD to another computer (also running Windows 7) but this is where I am running into problems:
- WorkingComputer can detect the external storage but thinks it is unformatted (because it is an entire OS not just external storage)-I definitely don't want it reformatted!
- DeadComputer's hard drive is fully encrypted--I DO know the password
- If I boot from the external device, it prompts me for my encryption password but then dies when it tries to start windows.
- I tried to run the startup repair and it reports everything is fine.
- I booted it into safe mode it just dies and restarts, prompting me for my encryption password again.
- I tried to use the recovery tool to roll back to a previous working saved version (last save 2/2/20) but it ran the recovery tool on workingComputer instead of DeadComputer's harddrive.

Everything I am looking up online doesn't seem to apply to the situation I have. However, I don't know for sure if I am looking for the right information and using the right keywords.

Really my question is--what types of things should I be looking up here to properly recover files from this possibly-damaged hard drive that is encrypted?

(I don't remember which product I used to encrypt my hard drive--most likely either bitlocker or TrueCrypt.)

-Curse you soy sauce!


Dear Soy Sauce,

This is a little over my head, but luckily my dad is a genius. Here are his notes:

Windows doesn't always deal well with foreign bitlocker enrypted drives. If you have access to a Mac or Linux box, try this.

On Windows, try this (but if a Linux or Mac box is available, try those first).

(He also says that you probably used BitLocker, not TrueCrypt, because the drive was recognized just by sticking it into another computer.)

Hopefully that helps!


Josefina('s dad)


Curse you,

Soy sauce... Roight ;).

Anyway, Fina's Dad seems to have a solid response...

Just wanted to add that you can easily create a bootable Linux flash drive and try that, if the Windows route doesn't pan out and you don't have access to a computer running Mac OS or Linux.

It's been a while since I've worked in the IT space but it seems Hiren's Boot CD consistently lives at the top of many Linux's rescue OS lists for Windows.  Has a lot of other tools you may or may not find useful, as well.

Hope you can get you your data back!