Encrypted File System In Vista (Part I)

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. An important point to remember is that a file can not be both encrypted and compressed. If compression is enabled, it will be disable when encryption is enabled.

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

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.

[tags]vista, windows, encrypted file system, diana huggins, microsoft, efs[/tags]

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  • TomD

    Helpful info on encryption. I started to receive mesage that I should “Backup you file encryption certificates and key”. The only problem is, I did not request that nay files be encrypted.

    I’m not sure what is going on.

    I somehow think this might be related to Google Desktop, but I’m not sure why I started to recieve this message all of a sudden.

  • Megan

    I need some help. This information you have is good, but, I have encrypted a file, and forgot the password. I looked under the help section, and it says that I can use my windows password to unlock it as well. So, I tried that, and it still didn’t work. Do you know a way to get past the program?

  • shane

    i am using windows vista premuim and i woud like to encrypt my files i and i try to click on the icon to and it like blanked out please help me.

  • Ryan

    i have the same problem as Shane, I am using Windows Vista Premium and the icon is blanked out, please help.

  • wg

    I also have the same problem mentioned before me: the ‘encrypt my files’ box is blanked out, what should i do?

  • Juan

    Hi, I already encrypt one folder and its files, but my problem is that when I try to open them, a little window that says: Encrypting file system. Insert a smart card, appears and it doesnt let me open my files, and I dont have any smart card. I only have one file that I called, License.pfx to import the license, but I installed it and still doesnt work… I apreciatte if u can help me. thanks

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