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HOW TO: Encrypt by partition (Windows)


Article ID: 180161


Updated On:


Symantec Products




This article describes the process to encrypt a partition using the Encrypt Whole Disk or Partition feature within PGP Desktop. Partition encrytion is available on versions of PGP Desktop 9.5 and above.

You can only encrypt, decrypt, or re-encrypt one disk or partition at a time. Once you begin an operation on a disk or partition, you cannot start encrypting another one until the process is complete on the first. You cannot circumvent this by pausing the first operation.


Caution: Before you encrypt your disk, be sure to back it up so that you won't lose any data if your laptop or computer is lost, stolen, or you are unable to decrypt the disk.


Encrypt by Partition

  1. Open PGP Desktop and click on the PGP Disk Control box.
  2. Click Encrypt Whole Disk or Partition. The Encrypt Whole Disk (Partition) work area displays, and you see a listing of the disks on your system that can be protected by PGP Whole Disk Encryption. This will include disks, disk partitions, and removable media.
  3. In the Encrypt Whole Disk or Partition work area, below the window titled Select disk or partition to encrypt expand the desired disk on your computer and select the partition that you want to protect using PGP Whole Disk Encryption.
  4. Choose the Encryption Options that you would like, if any.

    Maximum CPU Usage

    This is the fastest way to perform initial encryption on your disk using PGP Whole Disk Encryption, yet it is just as safe. This extra speed comes primarily by taking priority over other operations that your computer is performing. Consider this option for a time when you are away from your computer.

    Power Failure Safety

    While you can pause the initial encryption process at any time by properly shutting down or restarting your computer, it is exceptionally important to avoid unexpected shutdowns (power failures, power cord gets pulled out, and so on). If this is a possibility for youor if you do not have an uninterruptible power supply for your computer consider choosing the Power Failure Safety option. When Power Failure Safety is selected, encrypting is journaled; if the power fails, the encryption process can safely and accurately resume where it was interrupted. However, this option can cause initial encryption to take several times longer to complete.

  5. In the User Access section, specify how you want to access your protected disk or partition.

    The following two options are available:

    Token-based Public Key User

    Passphrase User
  6. After selecting the desired access type, click Encrypt.

The User Access options and process are described below.

Token-based Public Key User: If you are protecting a fixed (nonremovable)disk on your system.

  • Type the user name or email address associated with the key, then press Enter to find the key. You can also select Add User Key. A list of the keypairs on your keyring appears.
  • From the key source box, select the public key or keys that you want to use.
  • Click Add to move the keys to the Keys to add box.
  • Click OK.

Passphrase User: If you want to protect your disk or partition with a passphrase.

  • Select New Passphrase User. The PGP Whole Disk New User Assistant screen appears.
  • Choose the method that you want to use to access the disk or partition that you are about to protect. These options include Create New Passphrase and Use Windows Login.
  • If you chose the Use Windows Password option, type your Windows log-in password in the Password field. Click Finish.

    If you chose the Create New Passphrase option, type the new passphrase in the Passphrase field, and then type it again in the Confirm field. Click Finish.