I got bit again by TrueCrypt (www.truecrypt.org). I typically use this to encrypt portable drives, and I have an encrypted virtual drive where my cloud drives synchronize. During the setup of TrueCrypt, there is this very important screen:
Unless you are going to encrypt your system drive with TrueCrypt and… I wouldn’t recommend that (I’ve been bit a few times with that one!) – then choose “Extract” on this screen and not “Install”.
Why? You ask.
Well, I installed updates yesterday, rebooted and I was unexpectedly met with a TrueCrypt “No bootable partition found” message. When I went into the Windows Recovery screen, it said the drive was “locked”. The only thing I could do is re-install the operating system!! Yes, so I spent a good chunk of time today doing that. I regular, innocent reboot ended up turning into a day of re-installs!
Here’s the interesting part, I don’t use TrueCrypt for ANYTHING on my system drive, so how was it even involved in the boot process?! Well, it’s because of the option above. So, if you aren’t going to use TrueCrypt to encrypt your hard drive, use it in “portable mode” so that it doesn’t touch your boot drive! Do that by choosing “extract” and not “install”.
By the way, the thing that has saved me time and time again is having all of my data on a second drive. So, whenever I’ve had to re-install the operating system, I basically didn’t lose anything but time, and maybe a few settings. All of my data, my source, my project work, etc – was all safely on a secondary hard drive.