I accidentally (believe it or not) enabled Encrypting File System on Windows 7 that uses my personal certificate. I don't need the encryption, and I don't want to be stuck with inaccessible files in the future.

After the process was done, there was no "Cancel" button. I found that the Startup type should be disabled for EFS in services.msc.

Is this the correct solution? I'm asking to be 100% sure before I end up losing my data after rebooting my PC or deleting the certificate.

  • Yes it's correct, just disable it from the services and reboot, then you're all good. – iSR5 May 9 '16 at 7:40

I wouldn't say it's correct.

EFS isn't really something you need to enable or disable globally – it's the individual files that can be marked as "encrypted" or not. Newly created files are encrypted only if their parent folder is has encryption enabled.

But if you disable the EFS service, your files won't magically decrypt themselves – they'll remain encrypted, and more importantly inaccessible because you just disabled the software that could decrypt them.

So instead just disable the "Encrypted" option for your folders and files, and keep the service as is. (You can use cipher /d /s:C:\ * to mass-decrypt everything in C:\.)

  • it's the individual files that can be marked as "encrypted" Oh, so I did not encrypt my files, I just set the certificate in case I wanted to encrypt them... (I did it in Manage your file encryption certificates) I did not properly understand how it works, I guess. – Filoména Petržlénová May 14 '16 at 14:23

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