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Encrypted folder - Windows XP SP3

by dc_2000 / December 1, 2009 4:42 AM PST

Hi everyone:


I've never tried it before, so please bear with me. I got a second hard drive for my Windows XP SP3 system and I moved some bulky folders off of my documents into it. I know that My Documents folder was protected by my Windows user password, but when I moved my files to a separate hard drive this password protection went away. To restore it, I went to the folder on a new hard drive, right-clicked on it, went into properties, then advanced and set Encrypt contents check to on. Then it took almost a day (for 211 GB folder) to apply! and now what happens is that when I log in under a different user account I can still see files on that folder, but when I try to open them I get Access Denied message.

So here are my questions:

(1) Is it possible to set it up so that folders were not openable on that drive from outside of my original user account? Or at least, so that file names didn't show?

(2) If I decide to upgrade and move that second hard drive to a new computer, how can I be able to access it there?

(3) Just curious, how secure is such protection? I know it depends on the strength of my password, but say, if the password is a 6 letter word that is not a word from a dictionary, it is not in any way associated with me, nor it's written anywhere on my actual desk Happy So, just curious ...

Thanks in advance...

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Let me just advise you initially,
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / December 1, 2009 7:31 PM PST

that using EFS encryption is not something that is recommended too often here.

Look at the two posts in the discussion below;
http://forums.cnet.com/5208-6142_102-0.html?threadID=212125

If you have not backed up your EFS key, then you stand to lose those files, or at best, spend a lot of money, to regain access, if anything ever happens to your system.

I will let others answer your questions, but that 6 character password... It would take a professional just a few seconds to open it. A strong password is something like, Dhe30ajAh7Kie8Neo0dhej8Tw, or similar. The more characters the harder it becomes.

Mark

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Well, thanks
by dc_2000 / December 2, 2009 5:16 PM PST

I understand that it is some sort of a double-edged sword -- if I lose the key and reinstall Windows my HDD will become unreadable -- but it is also a good thing, meaning that people who shouldn't have access to it won't get to it either, right?

I have one question about the password though. I read a lot about so-called strong passwords -- and yours is definitely strong -- but still, let's face the reality, who in the world can memorize something like that? So if not, it means that one needs to store it somewhere to be copied (i.e. used) later, and if that is the case, then this "Storage" immediately negates the strength of the password. So why not save a step and come up with something manageable?

I realize that it would probably take a million years of "brute force" cracking by a modern computer to break a password like you suggested, but, realistically speaking, how long would it take to crack my password? Again, I'm using a word that I came up with myself (there's no such word in a dictionary) that consists of 6 small English letter. Just curious Happy

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Yes you're right of course
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / December 2, 2009 7:03 PM PST
In reply to: Well, thanks

No-one could remember such passwords, (unless they had a photographic memory), and so those passwords would have to be copied or written down elsewhere. That alone makes the use of strong passwords dubious at best.

Just to steer off-course for a while, you may want to read a bit more about EFS Security, and how to backup the EFS certificates. It might help if you decide to use this system;
http://www.nacs.uci.edu/security/EFSforWindows.html
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc700811.aspx

Back to passwords. Happy

It really is a thorny issue, and is debated all the time. The link below is quite scary;
How I would hack your passwords.

Notice how using numerical as well as lower case and UPPER CASE alphabet characters greatly increases security, and how an 8 character password is far more secure that a 6 character password.

You would need to ask yourself, what is the risk of someone seeing these folders and files, and how secure do you want them to be? If you want absolute security, then you transfer them to a CD or DVD, (plus backup copies), and place them in a safe. But obviously that is quite extreme in most cases.

For my part I use the 12-15 character passwords for online security when I use my credit card, but for the simpler sites, like this one, my password is just an 8 character one.

Interesting....

Mark

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