Encryption - Disable or Enable

ByLine
How to Disable or Enable EFS Encryption in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8
Synopsis
This will show you how to enable or disable the EFS Encryption option to encrypt or decrypt a file or folder for all user accounts on your computer.
How to Disable or Enabled EFS Encryption in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8

information   Information
Encrypting folders and files is a way to protect them from unwanted access. Encrypting File System (EFS) is a feature of Windows that allows you to store information on your hard disk in an encrypted format. Encryption is enabled by default in Vista. If you disable encryption, no user account will be able to encrypt a file or folder.
Note   Note
The EFS Encrypt feature is only available in the Vista Business, Ultimate, Enterprise, Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, Enterprise, and Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise editions.

This option will remain grayed out in the Vista Home Basic and Home Premium and Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic and Home Premium editions.
warning   Warning
Be sure to decrypt all files and folders before you disable encryption. Once encryption is disabled, all user accounts will lose access to encrypted files and folders until it is enabled again.

EXAMPLE: Encrypt Option grayed out after disabled
NOTE:
If you have the Compress contents to save disk space option checked, then the Encrypt contents to secure data option will also be grayed out since you can only use one or the other and not both.

Disabled.jpg



METHOD ONE
Using a REG File Download

1. To Disable Encryption
A) Click on the download button below to download the​
Disable_Encryption.reg file.​
B) Go to step 3.​
download

2. To Enable Encryption
A) Click on the download button below to download the​
Enable_Encryption.reg file.​
download

3. Click on Save, and save the .reg file to the Desktop.​
4. Right click on the downloaded .reg file and click on Merge.​
5. Click on Run, Continue (UAC-Vista) or Yes (UAC-Windows 7), Yes, and then OK when prompted.​
6. Restart the computer to apply the changes.​
7. You can delete the downloaded .reg file when done if you like.​



METHOD TWO
Manually in Registry Editor

1. Open the Start Menu.​
2. In the white line (Start Search) area, type regedit and press Enter.​
3. If prompted by UAC, then click on Continue (Vista) or Yes (Windows 7).​
4. In regedit, go to: (See screenshot below step 5)​
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem

5. In the right pane, right click on NtfsDisableEncryption and click on Modify.​
FileSystem_Key.jpg

6. To Disable Encryption
A) Type 1 and click on OK. (See screenshot below step 7)​
B) Go to step 8.​

7. To Enable Encryption
A) Type 0 (number zero) and click on OK.​
Modify.jpg

8. Close regedit.​
9. Restart the computer to apply the changes.​
That's it,
Shawn


 
Last edited:
Shawn Brink

Comments

I encrypted several hundred pictures when I had Windows XP. I upgraded to Vista Home Premium and I found out that I can't decrypt them. Any ideas? I was thinking about taking the HDD to a friends house that has XP on it and trying to decrypt from his OS, since I don't want to downgrade to XP...
 
Encryption File System needs your Smart Card

Please help: I read in PC Magazine that Vista Ultimate has a nice feature to prevent reading\theft of personal files (i.e. encryption tool) in case a notebook gets stolen.

So, I followed the PC Magazine recommendations and encrypted my personal documents, music, and pictures by right clinking each folder, Advanced, Properties, and Clicking Encrypt. The process took about 2 hrs. I thought all was well but then when I started my computer the next day, and when the desktop loads, there is a message indicating, "Encryption File System needs your Smart Card". When I click this message, a window pops up stating:


Encryption File System
You are encrypting a file or trying to access an encrypted file using a smart card
Enter your Smart Card PIN
Insert Smart Card or
Swipe Finger to Log On

Now, I cannot access my files that I encrypted

My guess is that once I encrypted the files, Vista needs to export the encryption certificate to a Smart Card. Without this, I cannot decrypt my files again. I went to Best Buy, Radio Shack etc and no one sells these cards or card readers. Found a few websites to purchase a Smart Card Reader and Smart Card.

My questions are:

1) Can I decrypt without a Smart Card/Smart Card Reader. I tried going to each folder, right clicking, properties, advanced, and checking decrypt but the above window pops ups.

2) If I do purchase a Smart Card Reader/Smart Card will the certificate be exported and can I then decrypt to make my files as they were prior to the encryption?

3) Is there anything else I can do?

Thank you for your assistance!

Steven
 
Hello Steven, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Could you post back the link for that article? That does not sound like it was the EFS feature in Vista. :confused:

In the mean time, you might be able to use the 30-day trial of the program Advanced EFS Data Recovery to decrypt the files.
 
It's so funny Steven, history repeats.... :)
I have exact same problem in 2012 in Vista.....
I do not know how did you resolve that problem.. Unfortunately I used that option for important files on my laptop and I am stuck...

Brink what do you suggest?
Thank you
Hemant
 
Hello Hemant, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Could you give some more details about your specific problem? :)
 
Thanks Brink, it was fastest response I have seen ever...... :)

The problem is exact same as Steven said...

-------

I followed the PC Magazine recommendations and encrypted my personal important documents by right clicking each folder, Advanced, Properties, and Clicking Encrypt. I thought all was well but then when I re-started my computer the next day, and when I tried open one of the file, there is a message window pops up stating:


Encryption File System
You are encrypting a file or trying to access an encrypted file using a smart card
Enter your Smart Card PIN
Insert Smart Card or
Swipe Finger to Log On

Now, I cannot access my files that I encrypted

------

If you notice I just copied Steve's problem....

So far I have copied the encryption certificate to couple of places but I never heard about smart card....

Thanks
Hemant

P.s. - By the way...my name is Hemant and NOT Hermant... :)
 
Thanks but I have a news... I resolved my problem using your original article.

regedit
Goto
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem
In the right pane, right click on NtfsDisableEncryption and click on Modify.
1. First time set to 0
Restart system
2. Go back again set to 1
Restart system
3. Now System allows to remove encrypt contents option.......

This worked for me.....
Thank you for prompt response...
 
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