So I had some encrypted files using the Windows file encryption on NTFS disk and I reinstalled windows xp. After that I logically couldn't access the encrypted files because of the encryption. Is there a way how to recover those files so I could access them? Reading Google most people say I'm booned, but I hope that I'm not and there is a chance to get all those files back..


If you have backed up your key ( .PFX file which contains your .CER file) then you simply need to import it and log off, then back on and your files should be accessible.

If you never backed up your key, I am guessing it is brute force time, but I wouldn't know where to begin to advise you here.

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  • This is also assuming you aren't part of a domain that assigned a EFS Restore account and cert.. – Rex Sep 16 '10 at 18:38
  • I just know the SID I had on that windows user. Does it help somehow? Maybe I can replace the current sid with the sid I had on the old windows user? – Rihards Sep 16 '10 at 18:50
  • And no I don't have any backups for certificates - because I didn't know about this problem before. :( – Rihards Sep 16 '10 at 18:50
  • @Richards sorry, nope, I don't think this SID has any relationship with the encryption certificate. – William Hilsum Sep 16 '10 at 19:01

Sadly, they point of encryption is to prevent access in such a case. The only possible way is if you had restore a certificate set up or if you want to attempt to crack the encryption.

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  • Check my comment on Wil's answer. Maybe the sid can help somehow? – Rihards Sep 16 '10 at 18:52

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