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How to restore encrypted files

by ompixie / December 24, 2012 1:21 PM PST


Many years I encrypted most of my data through an option I found on windows xp. I think it was with right click...

Then I formatted my pc.

I was really devastated because the person who advised me to encrypt my files, did not mention that you have got to have a KEY to decrypt them, if you format....

I remember I googled everything but could not find a solution. I read somewhere that if I had a copy of one of these files unencrypted I could use it somehow to find the key.

I realize that this must be beyond my abilities. However, I might even be willing to learn to save GB of photographs and memories I have stored.

So I did find a picture I had stored again through google. Is there anything I can do?

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Very few
by Jimmy Greystone / December 24, 2012 10:58 PM PST

Very few. You're looking at basically having to buy some program like those offered at and hope it can break the encryption. And not to rub salt in the wound, but when you encrypt something using EFS, it does pop up with a message telling you to back up that encryption key file, because without it, you will be unable to access the files. Somewhere along the line you chose to ignore that warning, and so now here you are.

I don't say it to chastise so much as to help you make sure to learn the valuable lesson from this experience. That is the difference between this being a one time event or simply the first of many.

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lesson learned
by ompixie / December 25, 2012 6:09 AM PST
In reply to: Very few

Believe me I learnt my lesson. I have never encrypted files since then :D. And its about 6 years now. I lost all my photography files, my screenshots of being first in google on a keyword...and other stuff I was very attached to...

Thanks for the suggestion, I wrote to the website you suggested and awaiting a reply. I would gladly pay to get those files back, as long as it doesn't cost a fortune.

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Sounds like EFS.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 25, 2012 1:26 AM PST

EFS restoration is indeed a trip and paying your penance at

EFS does require use to backup the EFS key for the day we need it.

Consider this to be like locking your car keys in a car or losing the last key to the car and having a new key made. Costs a little and you learn to keep a spare copy. Here's the article about making the spare EFS key copy.

There should be an article for XP, 7 but this is done before the formatting.

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That's news to me.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 25, 2012 6:55 AM PST
In reply to: Sounds like EFS. seems to be pretty clear about the requirements and the price.

If you don't meet the requirements then you move to the next data recovery house that does this. It's

I'm never asked anyone to use EFS for over a decade because I learned early on that even if you tell them to copy out the EFS certificate they won't. I knew it was trouble to let everyone have access to this but what to do now is the big question.
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price per file
by ompixie / December 26, 2012 1:11 AM PST
In reply to: That's news to me.

Lostpassword dot com require payment of decryption per file! I have 4000 files. Grin Nevertheless I wrote to them, lets see what they will have to say. Checking out the other site now.

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More ideas.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 26, 2012 1:19 AM PST
In reply to: price per file
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