WD Passport - Encrypted files not accessible

Hi,

Earlier I had a Windows XP PC1 to which I used to connect this WD Passport portable hard disk and take a backup of files regularly. Few days later this PC crashed and had to give it for service for reinstalling the OS. Till then I was using a different PC2. Now when I connected this WD Passport to this PC2 and tried to access the backedup files of PC1 it says its encrypted and don’t have permission.

  • Doesn’t ask for any password too to open the files. I am not able to access any of these PC1 files stored in WD now through PC2.
  • I don’t remember doing any encryption on PC1 with any password but it says so that its encrypted.

All my data is there only on WD Passport portable drive only !! After service of PC1 with new installed OS when I connect this WD Passport drive too its in the same status where I am not able to access files.

How do I retrieve these files now !! Please help.

Thanks in advance.

I am not an encryption expert but:

  1. What OS are you using on PC2? Seeing as how you were using XP on PC1. Was PC1 Encrypted?
  2. Have you ever used your Passport with PC2 before?
  3. Is your Passport an SSD or HDD?
  4. If your Passport is an HDD there is an EXE called “WD Apps setup.exe” which WD puts on their Pasports HDDs, did you use it? If so you could have encrypted the drive.
  5. This is a guess but if the drive was encrypted by mistake, I’m guessing that the encryption key could have been stored on PC1 and if so, with the OS being reinstalled you won’t be able to access the drive.
    Like I said, I’m no encryption expert but I can try to help.

Thanks much for your response in trying to recover my files. Sorry, saw your reply late due to this lockdown and so my response is late.

  1. What OS are you using on PC2? Seeing as how you were using XP on PC1. Was PC1 Encrypted?
    Reply for 1 : PC2, I was using Windows 10 and files from WD passport was showing as encrypted in green color. After PC1 was formatted and reinstalled with same Windows XP OS which was installed earlier, I tried connecting WD passport to the PC1 but still it was showing as encrypted.

  2. Have you ever used your Passport with PC2 before?
    Reply for 2: No since I had only PC1 alone, I had never tried and so not observed this. Only after PC1 got into issues, when I tried to recover files from PC2, I observed this.

  3. Is your Passport an SSD or HDD?

  4. If your Passport is an HDD there is an EXE called “WD Apps setup.exe” which WD puts on their Pasports HDDs, did you use it? If so you could have encrypted the drive.

  5. This is a guess but if the drive was encrypted by mistake, I’m guessing that the encryption key could have been stored on PC1 and if so, with the OS being reinstalled you won’t be able to access the drive.
    Reply for 3,4,5 : I had done some search on google at that time when this issue happened. I guess the issue is due to the below Encyrption on my files (given in below link) that I had done on PC1 Windows XP OS. There were 2 more users other than my user in PC1. So, for privacy reasons for other users not to access my files I seem to have done this.
    https://www.queensu.ca/its/security/encryption-service/tutorials/other-software/windows-xp-encrypting-file-system
    As you can see in this link, I seem to have done " Activate Encrypting File System (EFS)" which doesnt ask for any password and I seem to have been copying these encrypted files to WD passport. Looks like I should have done the step "“Back up your personal security certificate/key:” too as shown in the link which I was not aware, since
    Whenever I used to connect WD Passport to PC1 and open files in WD passport, it never asked for this security key. So I didn’t know it would expect a key when we connect WD passport to different PC. After PC1 went down, when I connected to PC2, it was showing files of WD passport in Green and I lost all my backedup data :-(((

To WD Passport Support team :

  • Why did WD Passport didn’t ask for password when I tried copying those Encrypted files from PC1 to WD Passport ?!?
  • Why didnt it ask when I tried opening the files copied to WD Passport connected through PC1 ?

If any of these 2 instances if it would have asked for the encrypted password, I would have taken backup of the encryption key at that time itself when PC1 was working.

Since none of my files saved on WD Passport are now accessible and I have mentioned the root cause too in this post, requesting WD Passport support team to provide a solution to recover my files through some other alternative way. Your help is much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.