Encrypt A File In Vista

The Encrypting File System (EFS) is designed to increase security on your computer by protecting your files. Files that have been protected using EFS are encrypted at the file-system level. The benefit of this is that the files can only be opened by the user with the appropriate private key and certificate. Even if you were to reinstall the operating system, the files would still be inaccessible.

You can encrypt a file using the steps listed below.

  1. Click Start and click Computer.
  2. Locate the file you want to encrypt.
  3. Right click the file and select Properties
  4. From the General tab, click the Advanced button.
  5. Select the Encrypt contents to secure data option.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Click OK to close the file’s properties dialog box.

Note: An important point to remember is that a file cannot be both encrypted and compressed. If compression is enabled, it will be disabled when encryption is enabled.

Once you complete these steps, the contents of the file are encrypted. When you access the file, the contents are automatically decrypted. You can disable encryption on a file by completing the steps outlined above and removing the check beside the Encrypt contents to secure data option.

Another user can be given permission to open an encrypted file. Once you complete step 4, click the Details button. Use the Add button to configure which users have permission to transparently access the encrypted file.

[tags]encrypting file system, efs, vista, windows[/tags]

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  • johng

    Please let me know how this works. I follow the steps above but the file does not appear encrypted to me. I can still open the file without having to provide a password.
    Help Im confused.

  • Jess

    If you encrypt a file and reinstall windows is there no way to recover the files?
    I’m an idiot and may have done this on accident and would like to know if i can undo it to access a folder containing my photos.

  • Negib

    I followed the instructions but the encrypt option is disabled and I am not able to tick the box. How do I enable the option in order to complete the encryption? I have done this in xp but vista is not allowing me to. Please help as I have files to secure.

  • Jakke

    i followed all the steps, but like “Negib” the box is greayed out and i can’t check it. what do i do? why is it like this?

  • gregory

    Like Jess, I don’t have anymore the access to my protected files. Please what can I do…….

  • Michelle

    Like both Jakke and Negib, the box is grayed and I can’t check it. How do I encrypt my files?

  • Joe

    Encryption does not work with home versions of Vista.

  • Gman

    I have tried but the “encrypt contents to secure data” is still greyed out and i have windows vista ultimate which is to have the EFS option.

  • XPfarce

    Greyed out options are great. It’s like shareware!

    The option’s there, but YOU can’t use it. HAHAHA!
    Why not remove the option completely?
    Another reason for piracy.

  • Darcy W.

    “box is grayed” Bit locker is only avaible to vista enterprise and ultimate.

  • Guy.Sharma

    Like the readers above, I followed the instructions but the encrypt option is disabled and I am not able to tick the box. How do I enable the option in order to complete the encryption? I have done this in xp but vista is not allowing me to.
    I find it incredible that this version of windows does not allow files encryption.