Intel's SSD migration tool & TrueCrypt - big gotcha

TL;DR: If you must help someone migrate from HDD to SSD, uninstall/disable any drive encryption before even starting this process.

If you are going to use Intel's SSD migration software (Acronis-based) to 'help someone out', be VERY VERY VERY VERY certain that the drive is not encrypted before starting.  In retrospect a pretty noob mistake, but it does highlight something that I haven't had much exposure to (disk encryption).

What happens is that the clone software modifies the MBR or something like that so you boot into the clone software rather than the OS.  TrueCrypt goes bananas and the Intel/Acronis software throws "MBR ERROR #3" and/or #2/#1.

No prob, right?  Just do a bootrec fixmbr/fixboot off a Windows recovery disk and you're back to normal!  Nuh uh.  Drive is nuked.  I would note that at this point NO CLONING HAS BEEN DONE.  Simply installing the software, starting the clone wizard, and rebooting has broken the drive.

The only way to recover it is using your TrueCrypt recovery disk.  You do have this, right?


I had hoped that simply mounting the drive in another computer running TrueCrypt and entering the boot password would fix it...not the case. (or maybe the TrueCrypt versions were off)  The only relevant Google hit I got mentioned mounting the drive using 'advanced' options.

Anyways, if you can't find that disk, just give up now.  Intel, please update your documentation to include a disclaimer about encryption.

Bonus:  I would assume that you could use something like Clonezilla to do a block-level clone of the drive, but then you have to deal with the fact that the partitions don't line up, because most commodity laptop drives these days are 500GB, and the affordable SSDs are 100-200GB.  If there is a bulletproof and easy (and free) way of dealing with that issue, I'm all ears.


  1. You can still recover the data. Hook it up to another machine, and then do this in TrueCrypt:

    * Click Select Device, and pick the drive or partition
    * Click System > Mount without pre-boot authentication
    * Enter the password and it should mount the encrypted volume

    I've had to do this many a times in the past, when I didn't have access to the recovery disk :)

  2. No foolin', that (mount without pre-boot authentication) works!! At least we can recover the data now. Thanks, Keith!


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