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I never knowingly created an encrypted file system, or encrypted files.

This similar question proposes that it might have been Office 2010, which is a possibility. (Though it's irritating that some install process would have done this for me "behind my back".) The question suggests running cetmgr.msc and removing it from the Personal category.

But I'm not comfortable doing that without asking the following questions:

  1. How can I tell if the key is being used?
  2. How can I tell if it's safe to remove the key? (almost implied from (1), but there may be some process I don't know about yet which expects it to be there...)
  3. If it turns out I removed it without it being safe, how could I recover?

I would appreciate any insight.

Edit:

This question provides a useful tip: encryptionstatus:encrypted can be used in a Windows Explorer search field to determine if any files are encrypted. I am assuming that this is the key used for that purpose, but I don't know if that's the only way this key is potentially used.

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I doubt windows encrypted anything "behind your back". –  Chris Oct 6 '10 at 16:10
1  
No, but it created the key, which some application could have used without my knowledge. –  Mike Oct 6 '10 at 16:14
    
>>'I doubt windows encrypted anything "behind your back"' oh, I can just imagine the next wave of virus and rootkits.. –  fseto Oct 6 '10 at 23:06
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@Chris: Win7 does encrypt "in your back": for example when extracting files from a .zip that was created on Mac OS X. –  mivk Jan 18 '13 at 14:59

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