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I started getting a strange message when I start my computer. An icon appears in the system tray, and a popup tells me "Encrypting file system - Back up your file encryption key".

I know what EFS is, but I don't use it. To my knowledge, I don't have any encrypted files on my partition. I have searched using Total Commander on all the partitions for files that have the "encrypted" attribute, but I found nothing. So I don't have any encrypted files.

Does anyone know what I did to get this message?

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See also this qustion posted for Vista, but this answer worked for me for Windows 7 to determine the encrypted file.… – goodeye Oct 14 '11 at 4:21
I saw this prompt on Windows 8 today as well. – Drew Noakes Nov 4 '13 at 10:03
Windows 8.1 Pro with Update 1 here! I got this yesterday, shortly after changing the theme in Notepad++. I'm not sure if it's related somehow. But it seems plausible. There is at least one TechNet user with the same symptoms. My theme did get saved in Notepad++ however. I didn't have to change folder permissions, but this does seem very odd. I searched wide and far, and I found no encrypted folders or files on any partition. But I did backup the encryption key. – sammyg Nov 2 '14 at 13:57
up vote 8 down vote accepted

I think I have resolved this. I ran certmgr.msc, and I have seen that there was a certificate under "Personal". That certificate was issued yesterday. The only thing I did yesterday was install Office 2010, and use it to save a document onto my SkyDrive (just out of curiosity).

I think that created the certificate, and Windows prompted me to save it.

Now I deleted that certificate, and I don't get the popup anymore.

What do you think? Is my explanation plausible, or could something else have happened?

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I got the warning just after trying Skydrive, too. Seems like a plausible explanation. I was able to access old Skydrive files even after deleting the certificate, although it seems a bit dangerous in case they ever start using it. – JVimes Feb 23 '14 at 20:25

Just had this yesterday - 4th Jan 2014.

A trojan has installed itself - even with Norton Internet Security installed :-(

Used cipher /U /N command in administrative Command Window to find the encrypted file called HPM3Util.exe in Startup folder which was a Trojan. Used Norton's Power Eraser to clean off.

Hope this helps anyone else...

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Is it this icon?


If it is, then it sounds like Bitlocker to me and not EFS. Is it your personal computer, or a work computer? Bitlocker can be turned on remotely via GPO if it is a computer from your workplace.

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It is my personal computer. I have Windows 7 professional, and it does not include BitLocker – Ove Jun 11 '10 at 5:31

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