Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Encrypted files and lost user account

  1. #1


    Posts : 8
    Win 8.1

    Encrypted files and lost user account


    I have some encrypted files that were encrypted under a windows8 account that got corrupted by the 8.1 update.

    I had to delete the account and recreate it. I created the same User ID and same PW but I can't decrypt the files now...

    I swore I've done that before and regained access to the files. Was that an old WinXP thing?

    Even though I know the password is the cert used to encrypt/decrypt seeded by time or something else random as well?

    I.E., are the files lost because I didn't back-up my cert/private key?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10


    Hello James,

    I'm afraid that without being able to import a backup of the EFS certificate/key, you may no longer have access to those files.

    You could try and use the 30 day free trial program Advanced EFS Data Recovery to decrypt the files.

    Hope this helps,
    Shawn
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 8
    Win 8.1


    Thanks for the quick reply Shawn.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10


    You're welcome. I hope it works for you.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 8
    Win 8.1


    No Joy on the EFS recovery program There's really no other way to decrypt these even when I know the user name and pw that encrypted them? So mad at myself.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10


    Sorry, but not without that EFS certificate. That's how it was designed to prevent access without it.

    Encrypted File System (EFS) Certificate Backup

    Encrypted File System (EFS) Certificate Restore
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  7. #7


    Posts : 8
    Win 8.1


    At least that gives me faith in encrypting files being secure...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10


    Well, at least for us mere mortals it is.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    The EFS certificate is a part of the user account, which in this case no longer exists. Windows identifies the account with an internal number, the user ID being nothing more than a human convenience. Creating a new account with the same id and password is a completely different account to Windows.

    All files of any importance need at least one backup copy. Having no backups is asking for trouble. Encrypted files are no exception, you just need to take precautions that the backups are not accessible to unauthorized individuals. File level backups would not be encrypted unless the backup system itself provided this. Image backups would remain encrypted.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Encrypted files and lost user account
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