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Acer Laptop Full Disk Encryption compatibility - Kennisbank / ESET Endpoint Encryption - ESET Tech Center

Acer Laptop Full Disk Encryption compatibility

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When starting Full Disk Encryption on an Acer machine you may find that the DESlock+ Safe Start process is unable to complete and reports that a problem was detected.

In order to use DESlock+ Full Disk Encryption with GPT partitioned disks the system must be configured to use UEFI boot mode.

Some Acer systems come configured from the factory to use Legacy boot mode.  This is in order to allow downgrades from Windows 8 to be performed.  This is detailed in the Windows 8 Disclaimer section on the Acer website:

"To enable downgrade to Windows 7 on this system the BIOS settings on this system were changed to boot into legacy BIOS mode."

More detail can be found on the Acer website here:

In order to resolve this the Boot Mode of the system will need to be changed.

The following steps apply to Acer machines that are using Windows 7 x64 and GPT formatted disks. 

Checking System Configuration

Firstly check if the drive is formatted using GPT:

  • From the Windows Start menu click the Control Panel shortcut.
  • Click System and Security.
  • Click Administrative Tools.
  • Double click on Computer Management.
  • Click on Disk Management in the left hand tree.
  • Right click on the Disk 0 box (or appropriate disk) in the pictorial display of disks then click the Properties item.
  • Click the Volumes tab.
  • If the disk is using GPT the value for Partition style will be GUID Partition Table (GPT) as shown in the example below.


Adjusting BIOS Settings

If the disk is partitioned using GPT then the following steps can be attempted on the system.

Note: It is important that a full system backup is taken before using the following process.

  • Restart the machine.
  • The ACER splash screen will be displayed, press the F2 key once this displays to display the BIOS.
  • You will see the Information section of the BIOS selected when it first loads.

  • Press the Right Arrow key three times to select the Boot section.
  • Within the Boot section is a setting for Boot Mode.  If this is set to Legacy it might be the cause of the problem being experienced.

  • Press Enter to change the Boot Mode.
  • Press the Up Arrow to select UEFI, then press Enter.

  • The setting of Boot Mode will now show as UEFI.

  • We now need to disable the Secure Boot setting.  This can only be done once a password has been specified on the BIOS.
  • Press the Left Arrow key to select the Security section.
  • Ensure the Set Supervisor Password option is selected and press Enter.

  • Enter and confirm a password to use for the BIOS, then press enter
  • You should make a record of the password you specified for future use.  It will need to be entered when using the BIOS in the future.

  • Press the Right Arrow key to select the Boot section again.
  • Press the Down Arrow Key once to select the Secure Boot entry.
  • Press the Enter key, press the Down Arrow key to select the Disabled option then press Enter.

  • The Boot section should now look as pictured below with Boot Mode set to UEFI and Secure Boot set to Disabled.

  • Press the F10 key.
  • Press the Left Arrow key to select Yes to the confirmation to save changes then press Enter.
  • The system will now restart and boot into Windows.

System starts Windows

If with the settings above in place the machine is able start and load Windows correctly then you should be able to perform full disk encryption as normal.  You should have a current backup of the disk before commencing the encryption operation.

System does NOT start Windows

If with the settings above in place the machine is not able to start Windows, then you will need to revert the changes made to allow Windows to load again.   Set Boot Mode back to Legacy and enable Secure Boot.  Please note you will need to supply the BIOS password you specified earlier in order to enter the BIOS to modify the settings.

In order to encrypt a system that is not able to start with the Boot Mode setting set to UEFI there are two possible options:

1. Upgrade the system to Windows 8, setting the Boot Mode setting to UEFI once installation is complete.  You should ensure you have made a copy of your data and applications from the system before upgrading so that you can restore them after reinstallation.  

2. Reinstall Windows 7 from Windows 7 media with the Boot Mode set to UEFI and Secure Boot set to Enabled (optional but recommended).  You should ensure you have made a copy of your data and applications from the system before reinstalling Windows so that you can restore them after reinstallation. 

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