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i formatted my C drive,reinstalled a new version of win xp.i had some encrypted files in my E drive.now i have the user name and certificate thumbprint in my encrypted files.but i cant open them.how can i decrypt or open my files.you know they are the result of my ten years hard working.i will really appreciate every kind of help.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 22 '09 at 11:06

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I think this question would be better suited to superuser.com –  Ben James Oct 22 '09 at 10:08
    
What did you encrypt these files with, the built-in Windows encryption, via file/folder properties dialog? –  invert Oct 22 '09 at 12:18

2 Answers 2

Unfortunately, you will not be able to recover your files.

Once you encrypt files, new encryption key is created and associated with your user. New user that you created after format is lacking that key.

Since you didn't export that key before you formatted system, data cannot be decrypted.

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Sadly enough this is true, if the original encryption key was not backed up, there is no way to recover the data. :( Thankfully in Vista/2008/7/2008 R2 they have a new interface for helping you backup your encryption key for this kind of scenario. –  Joshua Oct 22 '09 at 13:57

Perhaps these links will be of help: (I have made the assumption that the encryption is that of NTFS/EFS).

Details and some manual recovery approaches, interesting read, some tool links

Microsoft EFS Documentation

Relevant Google search

Make sure to backup and verify the files first -- if doing a manual recovery or even using an automated tool. Good luck.

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