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HOW TO: Clean (wipe) a PGP Whole Disk Encrypted Disk Using the diskpart Utility on Windows


Article ID: 180578


Updated On:


Symantec Products




This article describes how to wipe a PGP Whole Disk Encrypted disk using the Windows diskpart utility. This will get rid of all the instrumentation data with bootguard in the MBR. This utility is included by default with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.  This utility is useful command when you have a disk that is encrypted and you are unable to decrypt the drive using any other means and you wish to form wipe the disk clean so that you can format it.

WARNING: This method of wiping of drive your will cause you to lose all your data. If possible, please be sure to backup whatever data you on the drive using other means before performing the operations listed in this article. This will cause data loss!
Use the following steps to clean the partition tables of the drive and to format the disk

1. Open up a Windows command prompt:

Windows XP: Click Start > Run and then type cmd and press Enter.
Windows 7 & Vista: Click Start and type cmd in the start search field and press Enter

2. From the command prompt, open the utility by typing: diskpart and then press Enter.

3. List the disks by typing the command:  list disk and then press Enter.

4. You should see something like: Disk 0 Online.  There could be even more than one disk listed.

Find the one that you are looking for based on disk size information. If you need to find what volumes are on that disk you can do a select disk (disk number). Then type the command list volume to list the volumes on the disk. 
For example: If you have two disks in your system and you are unsure which one is the PGP encrypted partition, but you think that it is disk 1. You can perform  the commands: select disk 1 and then list volume. This will show you what volumes are on disk 1. Then you should be able to see what volumes are on the disk, how big the volume is, the drive label of the disk as well as the format of the file system on the disk.

5. Once you have determined the disk that you want to format. Perform the command: select disk (number) e.g. select disk 1.

6. Once the disk is selected type clean all to perform the clean command.

7. Once the disk is clean you should be able to use the Disk Management utility or some other utility to setup the partition tables and reformat the disk drive.