Question by drunk_white_kid: WinXP Encrypted Folders, Portable Hard Drive, New Computer: How do I open these files?
Let me give you some background:
I have a portable hard drive on which I store backups of all my critical documents. The folders are encrypted by Windows XP Professional (just the standard “Encrypt Contents” under Attributes). The main computer I used these files on has died, and I have connected the drive to my laptop.
The issue comes in the fact that the files are encrypted and I cannot access them, as I am not the “authorised user” of the files on my laptop computer. I can SEE the folders and see the files, but any time I open it, it reports “access denied.”
If there is a workaround, I have the right credentials to access the files. I just need to know HOW to workaround this.
-”Taking ownership” through the Security tab in the Properties dialog box doesn’t accomplish this task, nor does reassigning permissions.
-I am not attempting to “crack” this hard drive. This is my hard drive, and my files. If I had my regular computer back, I’d have no problems. It is away for repairs.
-Cannot simply deselect the “encrypt” tick box in the Attributes, it is greyed out.
-Original OS is XP Pro SP2. Current OS is Vista Home Prem SP1.
There appears to be no way to simply, and directly, provide the appropriate credentials from the old computer, so that it can access the files.
I greatly appreciate any insight one can provide. Thank you!
Answer by ABdA
I also had the same problem before, but unfortunately Windows XP Encryption (at 128-bit) is very hard to crack for mere mortals like us. I also tried everything on the Help and Support Center of Windows XP but to no avail. Try viewing these WIndows XP help files and type “Encryption”
Accordingly, “Data recovery is available through the Encrypting File System (EFS) as a part of the overall security policy for the system. For example, if you should ever lose your file encryption certificate and associated private key through disk failure, arson, or any other reason, the person who is the designated recovery agent can recover the data.” The recovery agent in this sense is only true to a particular computer domain, and there is the requirement that each recovery agent has been issued an X.509v3 certificate to do a recovery across the domain. Furthermore “If you are the recovery agent, you should be sure to use the Export command in the Certificates snap-in in Microsoft Management Console (MMC) to back up the recovery certificate and the associated private key and store it in a secure location. After backing them up, you should use Certificates to delete the recovery certificate. Then, when you need to perform a recovery operation for a user, you should first restore the recovery certificate and associated private key using the Import command in Certificates. After recovering the data, you should again delete the recovery certificate. You do not have to repeat the export process.”
Possibly, you could connect the portable hard drive to another Windows XP Prof and use the Remote Desktop Connection then apply your stored certificate and associated private key to import the encrypted file to another location, say a folder in Vista. Then on that new location, you could decrypt the same files using the imported certificate and the associated private key.
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Category: How To Fix A Laptop