View Full Version : Dell Data Protection woes

I bought online a Dell Latitude 3450 two months ago. It has Windows 7 and 64 bit OS. The computer came already installed (not at my request) with the Dell Data Protection (DDP) programme. Booting up the computer, I went thru the typical wizard installation process of the DDP programme. Naturally, this programme then encrypted my files. A small key icon was overlayed onto the typical file and folder icon to show that the file was encrypted. After a few days I had transferred music onto my ipod but it wouldn’t play because the music files were encrypted. As a result, I went into the DDP Programme and ticked a box to un-encrypt the all of my files (the key icon dissapeared, and I was also able to play the music on my ipod). There were no other issues with any of the files after this - or so I thought.
About a month later (last week), while working on the computer I began receiving a pop up window from DDP programme telling me that there were new policy updates and that I had to sign in with my password to receive these new updates. This window kept popping up every 2 minutes for over an hour, so I decided to uninstall the DDP programme as I didn’t think it was of much use anyway (this was done through usual Control Panel – Programmes & Features). After uninstalling the DDP programme I found that I was locked out of all of my files – word, excel, pdf, jpeg, etc….everything. I was also unable to access Outlook Express and my emails. The various error messages were “you do not have the correct permissions to access the file location” … “access denied” … “user does not have access privileges” … “document may be read only or encrypted” etc. I had a computer repairer manage to get me back into Outlook Express and my emails, but it still doesn’t work properly (not all emails downloaded, format slightly different). I tried to do a system restore from four different restore points (unsuccessfully), and each time I got the message “System Restore did not complete successfully. System Restore failed to extract the file (C:CMGb2ce9.ALT) from the restore point. An unspecified error occurred during system restore”.
I have then spent the last 4 days on the phone and chat lines with Dell to figure out how to fix the problem. I was told that before I initially uninstalled the programme, I should have disabled the password function. Because I didn’t do this initially, they asked me to reinstall the DDP, find the disable password function, disable the password, then uninstall DDP again. I was unable to successfully download a new version of the DDP (some error occurred), however the icon now appears in my start menu and on my operating system (it won’t successfully load either). However, when I go to Control Panel – Programmes & Features to look for DDP or any of its components to uninstall, it does not exist. The Dell technician tried a few things but these were of no assistance. He finally told me to reformat the system and backup all the necessary data. I am unable to backup any data that is on this new computer. When I try to copy or send any files on the C: drive to a USB/external drive it says I need permission to perform this action. Thankfully, I still have most of my original data backed up, as I only transferred all my files 2 months ago onto the new computer. However, it’s the files I have been working on in the last 2 months that are encrypted that I need assistance with.
The last Dell technician I spoke with today advised me that when I originally uninstalled DDP without disabling the password function, it created a lock around the current data. When I tried to reinstall a new version of DDP it created a different locking system to the original – so they are not recognising each other. It’s the original locked data that needs un-encrypting, as well as finally uninstalling the stupid DDP programme off the machine entirely.

I have searched high and low for solutions. Any takers on this issue?

I don't have knowledge of this exact problem, hopefully someone else will and might be able to advise you, but for future advice if you need to encrypt any files then your best bet is probably just to put the private files into 7z archives with passwords. And leave the rest of your system unencrypted, so you don't get these sort of issues with your operating system or with non-private files. Encrypting private stuff by putting it in 7z archives gives you encrypted archives which can be moved around just like normal files, and opened on any machine with 7z installed just by inputting the password.

Did you make any system images when the machine was working, these will often work when system restore fails. That would let you return your computer to an older working state, but any files modified or created since the image was created would be lost. Did you back up any of the files onto external devices before these problems began, though given what you report happened with your mp3 player the backed up files might be encrypted if they were backed up before you turned the encrypton software off or after you uninstalled it.

Thanks for responding and for your advice. To be honest I have never been interested in encrypting my data. Its just that it came with the computer and I blindly set it up.

I didn't make any system images unfortunately. My fault for not being more diligent. As the computer is only 2 months old I have the majority of my stuff backed up. It's the work I did in the last 2 months I'm desperate to recover. They were saved before I uninstalled the prog.

Did the program force you to set it up during the setup process, or was it "tick this box if you want to setup encryption as well as the other stuff already being done"?

It seems that it was partially installed. WHen I received the computer, it logged onto Dell's cloud delivery (or something like that) and a wizard came up on the screen to complete the installation process. I should have just deleted it then and there, but wasn't thinking.