Saturday, July 7, 2012

A guide to fixing the 'Encryption unsuccessful' error on your phone

Encryption unsuccessful Encryption was interrupted and can't complete. As a result, the data on your phone is no longer accessible. To resume using your phone, you must perform a factory reset. When you set up your phone after the reset, you'll have an opportunity to restore any data that was backed up to your Google Account. Reset phoneNote: This guide is geared toward the Samsung Captivate. If you have a different device, try your device's forum, or search my thread on XDA about this.

Are you using ICS and pulled your phone out of your pocket only to find that it had this screen, saying "Encryption unsuccessful" and your only option a button that said "Reset Phone"? Don't press it! Try rebooting a few times with your external sdcard out first. Sometimes that will fix the issue. If not, take a deep breath and follow the guide to get your phone usable again:

This is not my happy face

Here's the bad news:
Your partitions for /data and /sdcard are no longer accessible. Latest news points to a bug in the firmware for the memory card in your phone. ICS uses a new function that doesn't work correctly with the affected phones.

But wait! Here's the good news:
I found a *workaround* to get my phone to at least work again. Note: You will need to perform steps 9-11 every time you flash a ROM or ROM update, because flashing overwrites the vold.fstab file.

Here were my steps to get your phone working again:

  1. Realize that you may have just lost whatever was on your sdcard and it's your own fault. For me, this was acceptance that *I* installed ICS on my phone and now CWM backups, photos, and more were gone. Once your realization has set in, move forward.
  2. Acquire an micro SD card that you will put into your phone. This will contain your new /data partition as well as your new /sdcard partition. I recommend at least 8GB. If you already have a card, backup whatever is currently on your micro SD card - you *WILL LOSE* everything on this card in the next few steps.
  3. Boot into clockwork mod, using either 'adb reboot recovery', or some other combination of buttons.
  4. Partition your mircosd card through CWM. This will be 'advanced' then 'Partition SD Card'. The first size you choose will be the size of your /data partition. I have a 16GB card and chose 2GB for /data. This will leave me with (16GB-2GB) 14GB for /sdcard. You can choose a different size if you like, depending on how big you want your internal data partition to be. Choose 0M for swap. This process will take a few minutes, so keep waiting, you impatient jerk.
  5. Download the latest build of ICS for your phone and put it on your micro SD card. (You can mount it to your computer at this point in CWM with 'mounts and storage' 'Mount USB storage')
  6. Create a full backup. Just in case. Put it on a computer, dropbox, whatever. Your phone isn't a safe place for backups.
  7. Wipe user data, cache, & system. Now install the ICS package you just put on your card and reboot. The first boot will take a while, as all first boots do, but after a while you should be back in ICS. Exhale (If you're not exhaling at this point, post something in this thread and I or someone else will help get you running)
  8. Check Settings > Storage and see if your new /sdcard partition (For me it was about 14GB) shows up as 'USB Storage' or 'SD Card' If it's USB storage, then your micro sd mounted to /sdcard successfully and you're done. You should be able to take a picture and have it save. If not...
  9. Edit etc/vold.fstab with whatever you use personally (root explorer for me) and swap paths for /emmc and /sdcard (the part that starts with /devices/platform...). Someone more intelligent than me can probably make this a CWM zip. This step is telling ICS to swap your /sdcard (broken internal sdcard) and your /emmc (working external sdcard). It will probably look like this when you're done:
  10. # internal sdcard that is no longer workingdev_mount emmc /mnt/emmc 1 /devices/platform/s3c-sdhci.0/mmc_host/mmc0 # external sdcarddev_mount sdcard /mnt/sdcard auto /devices/platform/s3c-sdhci.2/mmc_host/mmc2
  11. Reboot with your new vold.fstab and check your storage amount in ICS and test your camera (easy test to see if Android can write to the sdcard). Hopefully now this is working for you.
Let me know if you have any questions or (hopefully not) problems!

Notes to self and developers:
ICS is a lot pickier about mounting filesystems, and if it can't mount /data correctly, it assumes it is encrypted. It really isn't, firing off an misleading encryption message per the implementation of encryption.

In ICS and in CWM, when I look at /dev/block/platform/ I only see s3c-sdhci.2 and s5pc110-onenand. The s3c-sdhci.0 block is missing completely. I'm not sure how to even touch the /data or /sdcard filesystem at *ALL*

Oh well.


  1. Ok, what happens if i did hit the button and will i ever be able to use the internal card again?

    1. Sadly, probably not -- Only in rare cases does the internal card 'come back' to life. I still haven't seen any cases where the data can be recovered.

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for this. But I did hit the "Reset Phone" button. :(

    It took me to clockwork mod screen with various options. What can I do now? I just want to use my phone again, I have most of my pictures and other data backed up on my computer. Is there any way to get it back working?


  3. Hi,

    tried this workaround but partitioning the external sd card in cwm did not work. Any options to repartition in windows, would ext4 partition work or do I need reiserfs to be partitioned in Linux?


  4. Hi man,
    I really can't express how grateful I am for your great explanation. My phone was brocked for like 7 months; I've tried every single tutorial over the internet, I've read any thread on any forum, but that was pointless. Until I saw your post and I fixed my Samsung Galaxy GT-I9000.
    Thank you again, may god bless you for what you've done to me, and keep up the good work.

  5. Issue: after editing the "vold" file, changes aren't saved eventhough I do "save and exit". Any clue ?

  6. I had same problem 'Encryption unsuccessful'. I had to go into ap fastboot and run Droid razr utility 1.82 and pick#1.
    I then went into recovery mode and flashed blur version

    1. March 14th, you are my hero...RazrUtil 1.82 and 6.16.211xt912...worked like a charm!!! Back from the dead, thank you

  7. Im not sure but ICS is Ice Cream Sandwich?

    In that case could i use instead of that version the Jelly Bean version from the cyanogen mod 10.1

    im a noob with android and maybe i said something with no sense but please help!


  8. can't pass step 7...
    appear nothing after press

  9. Hi, 'Encryption unsuccessful' problem with my Zopo c2 but it is unrooted and no CWM but "android recovery mode (3e)". how can I make sd card partition now?

  10. Hi, check this:

  11. Hi,
    Have a question, I don't have an sd card, but my phone still say Encryption unsuccessful. What do I do?

  12. hello,
    i am akshay,
    the user of micromax a100.
    i have bricked my device.
    reading the above post states that u r pc should have proper
    drivers installed for u r phone.
    but my pc does not have the driver for my phone.
    i tried many ways to acquire it but unable to find any.
    i have tried many methods to do, but no luck.
    my phone has stock recovery and i can't use them,
    it always shows some error like e:\can't mount sd card,system and many more like that.

    my question is that is there any way to acquire driver for this?
    if yes then please do help me.

    thanks in advance

  13. Don't worry,
    I used the LG upgrade tool and that did it.
    First time failed, second try restored my phone.

    read here:

  14. ajuda no 3 passo como vo instalar clockwork mod como o erro eu