CipherChain ES Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does the CipherChain ES have any limit on the drive capacity?
A: There is no capacity limitation on the hard drive. Any hard drive can be partitioned and formatted as one single large volume.

Q: Does the CipherChain ES support raid?

A: Yes, any RAID volume can be connected to the CipherChain ES and the entire RAID volume will be encrypted.

Q: Can the CipherChain ES be used with drives other than SATA?

A. Yes. It is possible using an IDE to SATA converter (ADIDESA).  It could also be used with Compact Flash drives SATA-CF hard disk adapter

Q: Does the CipherChain ES affect performance speed?

A: The CipherChain ExpressCard offers encryption with superior performance with no noticeable performance lost on external drives.

Q: Are there any drivers that need to be installed before using the CipherChain ES?

A: No. The CipherChain ES requires no drivers and can be used on all operating systems.

Q: Can I use the CipherChain ES to encrypt multiple hard drives?

A: Yes.  You are able to encrypt multiple hard drives.  This can be done with all Addonics Cipher products that use the AES-265 encryption.  Although, the hard drives encrypted with the same key will have the same encryption on them.  You could be able to use the same key to access all the different hard drives with same encryption.

Q: Can I encrypt a hard drive that already has data on it?

A: No.  When using the CipherChain ES for the first time, the computer will read the hard drive as unallocated.  Next, the drive needs to be initialized with the Cipher Key and all data will be erased.  To encrypt a hard drive with data, you must first back up the data onto another hard drive and then transfer it back on the encrypted drive.

Q: Are there any passwords I must remember?
A: No. There is no need to remember long passwords.  The drives can be accessed with the Cipher Key.

Q: What happens if key is lost or stolen?

A: If you lose all the keys, there is no way to access the data on the hard drive with no chance of recovery. It is EXTREMELY important that one key is stored in a safe place.

Q: Can I order duplicate Cipher keys?

A: Keys can be ordered from the Addonics website. To have the original key duplicated, you must send your Cipher key back to Addonics for duplicating additional keys. Be sure to back up your data before sending the key to Addonics for duplication. Addonics is not responsible for keys lost in the mail.

Q. Can the key be used for other Addonics Cipher products?

A: Yes. Other Addonics Cipher products such as CipherChain, Diamond Cipher and Ruby Cipher all use the same time of AES 256-bit encoding system. Encrypted drives can be accessed with a Cipher key with the same code.

Q. Will there be an increase in file size after encryption?
A: No. AES is a complicated mathematical algorithm that computes the original data with 256-bit cryptographic key length. Regardless of the size of the key, the size of data file after encryption remains unchanged.

Q. Will my data be lost if the CipherChain ES is becomes defective?

A: No. The Cipher key contains the AES cryptographic key. A new CipherChain ExpressCard could be replaced and the data can still be accessed.

Q. How does the Cipher encryption system work?
A: The CipherChain Cryptographic Engine (CCE) intercepts, interprets, translates, and relays commands and data to and from the disk drives, encrypting the data with AES 256-bit key strength. Before all data reaches the disk drive, the CCE encrypts it, and then saves it to the disk drive. When there is a read to the disk drive, the CCE decrypts it before sending the data to the host. The operation of encryption and decryption is totally transparent to all users thus, the CCE is invisible to the entire system. The CipherChain Cipher key contains the cryptographic key that is used by the CCE. At power up, the cryptographic key will be delivered to the CCE register sets using a proprietary hardware protocol. If by chance the cryptographic key was incorrect or missing, the CCE will not decrypt the hard drive thus, the CipherChain encrypted hard drive cannot be detected by any operating system without the correct Cipher key, which keeps all the content in the drive is secured. Attempts to surface scan the entire disk drive platters will not return results. Since the CCE is a generic engine and it relies on the cryptographic key to enable all functions, a malfunctioned CCE can be easily replaced with the same model and the content of the disk drive can be safely retrieved as long as the original cryptographic key is intact.

Q. Is the CipherChain certified?

A: Addonics hardware encryption is based on the eNova's FX Cryptographic engine that has been certified by NIST and CSE. These certificates are available on NIST web links: ( and

For more information on hardware encryption, visit the tutorial at: