Recovery of Encrypted files under Wndows XP

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Murray, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. Murray

    Murray Guest

    I'm confused about file encryption under Win XP Pro. I hope someone can
    clarify this for me.

    I have a few hundred files containing sensitive information backed up to an
    external hard drive, and encrypted using Windows XP Pro (Right click on
    folder - Properties - Advanced - Encrypt contents to secure data). The
    folder shows up in green in Windows Explorer. When I log in to Windows, I
    can access these files transparently. When other users log onto my computer,
    they are denied access to these files.

    My question - Suppose my current computer dies and I get a new computer.
    Will I be able to access these encrypted files on the external hard drive,
    assuming I create a username and password on the new computer identical to
    my current username and password?

    A more general question - how does Windows construct the encryption key used
    to encrypt files and folders under Windows XP Pro? Is it just derived from
    my username and password, or does other computer-specific information go
    into the making of the key?

    Thanks in advance for any help. I found the Windows Help file confusing.
    Murray, Aug 3, 2005
    #1
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  2. Murray

    Harrison Guest

    On Tue, 2 Aug 2005 20:22:39 -0400, "Murray" <> wrote:

    >I'm confused about file encryption under Win XP Pro. I hope someone can
    >clarify this for me.
    >
    >I have a few hundred files containing sensitive information backed up to an
    >external hard drive, and encrypted using Windows XP Pro (Right click on
    >folder - Properties - Advanced - Encrypt contents to secure data). The
    >folder shows up in green in Windows Explorer. When I log in to Windows, I
    >can access these files transparently. When other users log onto my computer,
    >they are denied access to these files.
    >
    >My question - Suppose my current computer dies and I get a new computer.
    >Will I be able to access these encrypted files on the external hard drive,
    >assuming I create a username and password on the new computer identical to
    >my current username and password?
    >
    >A more general question - how does Windows construct the encryption key used
    >to encrypt files and folders under Windows XP Pro? Is it just derived from
    >my username and password, or does other computer-specific information go
    >into the making of the key?
    >
    >Thanks in advance for any help. I found the Windows Help file confusing.
    >


    Backing Up and Restoring Encrypted Files or Folders
    In Windows XP Professional, encrypted files and folders remain encrypted if you back them up by using Backup in
    Administrative Tools. You can also use the ntbackup command, the backup APIs, or other backup products designed for use
    with Windows XP Professional. Backup files remain encrypted when transferred across the network or when copied or moved
    onto any storage medium, including non-NTFS volumes. If backup files are restored to volumes formatted by using the
    version of NTFS used in Windows 2000 or later, they remain encrypted. Along with providing excellent disaster recovery,
    backups can also be used to securely move files between computers, sites, and so on.

    Opening restored, encrypted files is no different from decrypting and opening any encrypted files. However, if files are
    restored from backup onto a new computer, in a new forest, or at any location at which the user's profile (and thus the
    private key needed to decrypt the files) is not available, the user can import an EFS certificate and private key. After
    importing the certificate and private key, the user can decrypt the files.
    Harrison, Aug 3, 2005
    #2
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  3. Murray

    Vanguard Guest

    "Murray" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > I'm confused about file encryption under Win XP Pro. I hope someone
    > can
    > clarify this for me.
    >
    > I have a few hundred files containing sensitive information backed up
    > to an
    > external hard drive, and encrypted using Windows XP Pro (Right click
    > on
    > folder - Properties - Advanced - Encrypt contents to secure data). The
    > folder shows up in green in Windows Explorer. When I log in to
    > Windows, I
    > can access these files transparently. When other users log onto my
    > computer,
    > they are denied access to these files.
    >
    > My question - Suppose my current computer dies and I get a new
    > computer.
    > Will I be able to access these encrypted files on the external hard
    > drive,
    > assuming I create a username and password on the new computer
    > identical to
    > my current username and password?
    >
    > A more general question - how does Windows construct the encryption
    > key used
    > to encrypt files and folders under Windows XP Pro? Is it just derived
    > from
    > my username and password, or does other computer-specific information
    > go
    > into the making of the key?
    >
    > Thanks in advance for any help. I found the Windows Help file
    > confusing.
    >
    >



    Open the Certificate Manager snap-in (certmgr.msc) and export the EFS
    certificate under the Personal category onto a floppy or other removable
    media (but not one that relies on drive mechanicals but just composes
    the medium for storage, like a floppy, CD-R, Zip disk, etc.). Then lock
    it away. When you reinstall the OS, you will need to import that
    certificate under which the files were encrypted. The include Help and
    Support in Windows XP can help you on how to export the certificate.

    --
    ____________________________________________________________
    For e-mail, remove "NIX" and add "#LAH" passcode to Subject.
    ____________________________________________________________
    Vanguard, Aug 3, 2005
    #3
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