Backing up PGP Virtual Disks - Symantec Encryption Desktop for Windows

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Article ID: 153397

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Desktop Email Encryption Drive Encryption

Issue/Introduction

This article details how to backup PGP Virtual Disks.  Backing up the contents of your PGP Virtual Disk is the best way to safeguard your information from hardware failure or other data loss. 

Resolution

It is not recommended to back up the contents of a mounted (and therefore, decrypted) PGP Virtual Disk just as you would any other volume. The contents are not encrypted, and are accessible to anyone who can restore the backup. Instead, make a backup copy of the encrypted PGP Virtual Disk.

To back up PGP Virtual Disks

  1. Open Encryption Desktop and click PGP Disk.
  2. Under PGP Disk, right-click the desired disk and select Unmount. The icon for the PGP Virtual Disk changes from an orange icon to a blue icon.
  3. In the Disk Properties for the disk, note the file location for the disk.
  4. Browse to the location in Computer or Windows Explorer for your PGP Virtual Disk.
  5. Copy the unmounted encrypted file (.pgd) to a USB thumb drive, external hard disk, or network drive just as you would any other file. Even if an unauthorized person has access to the backup file, he or she will not be able to decrypt or decipher the file contents without knowledge of the passphrase.

    Note: PGP Virtual Disks have a .pgd file extension.

When making backups of the encrypted files, note the following best practices:

  • Backing up encrypted files to a network drive with a weak passphrase may give other users opportunities to guess at a weak passphrase and decrypt the disk. It is much safer to back up only to devices over which you have physical control.
  • A long and complex passphrase helps further improve the security of your data.
  • If you are on a network, make sure that any network back up system does not back up the files in your mounted PGP Virtual Disk. Once a PGP Virtual Disk is mounted, its files are decrypted and can be copied using a network backup software.
  • Backup your PGP Virtual Disk file on regular basis to reduce the risk of losing data due to a operating system or hardware failure.