In a previous tutorial I had described the way to encrypt your files by using the EFS encryption. In this tutorial you 'll find out, how to remove the EFS encryption and how to decrypt the EFS encrypted files after transferring them to another computer.
How to Decrypt the EFS encrypted files and Disable the EFS Encryption.
Part 1. How to Disable and Remove the EFS Encryption.
When you encrypting your files with EFS, then the decryption key (certificate) is stored locally on your computer and the files are already decrypted. If you want to disable the EFS encryption in order to stop encrypting your files/folders:
1. Right click at the encrypted folder/file and change the File ownership to Personal.
2. When done, you should see that the folder/file is unlocked. Just perform the same steps to remove the encryption on every other encrypted folder and file.
3. Now, if you don't use the EFS encryption to any other file/folder and you want to completely remove the EFS recovery key (aka "decryption key – certificate") from your PC:
1. Open Internet Explorer and from the Tools menu select Internet Options. (or, open Internet Options from Control Panel.)
2. At Content tab click Certificates.
3. At Personal tab, select the decryption certificate and click Remove. *
* Attention: Make sure that you have removed (stopped) the encryption for all the encrypted files before removing the certificate (decryption key)
4. Restart your computer.
Part 2: How to Decrypt the EFS encrypted files on Another computer.
If you have transferred the EFS encrypted files to another computer, then the only way to view (open) the EFS files, is to own the decryption key. The decryption key is the certificate .pfx file, you exported when you encrypted the files. If you don't have the EFS decryption key, there is not a way to decrypt the EFS files.
To Decrypt EFS encrypted files, by using the Decryption Key – Certificate:
1. Double click at the decryption key (certificate .pfx file) to install it.
2. At the Welcome screen of the Import Certificate Wizard click Next.
3. Then click Next again.
4. Type the password you used when you exported the certificate key and click Next.
5. Leave the default settings at Certificate Store options and click Next.
6. Finally click Finish.
7. Now you can open the encrypted files. *
* Note: After decrypting the files, follow the instructions at part-1 above, to completely remove the encryption if you want.
That’s all folks! Did it work for you?
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