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Getting an encrypted file decrypted again


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#1 catsears

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Posted 02 August 2018 - 03:19 PM

ok newbie here; awhile back I encrypted some photos/docs on my other computer.  everything was backed up; now I want to open those items but dont know how.

 

have a userkey.psw but when I click it is suggesting going to windows to download a program; dont know which psw prog to download.

 

also have an icon on my drive that says "encrypt certifi file" that I apparently named.

 

so, can I open these files, and if so, how? dont understand all this mess. can anyone tell me how in laymans terms or is it best just to forget it? I wanted to open this if possible to remind me what it was and why it was encrypted.....duh....

 

thanks!


Edited by britechguy, 04 August 2018 - 11:26 AM.
Changed title to match the actual question


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#2 catsears

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 08:46 AM

hi, cant anyone help me with this?  thanks



#3 pcpunk

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 09:58 AM

Looks like there isn't many that can help but I will ask what did you encrypt them with.  I've only done this with Word Docs, and when I Click on the Document it prompts me to enter a password.

 

Here is a LINK that may help you, but also include any other details that you can.


sBCcBvM.png

Created by Mike_Walsh

 

KDE, Ruler of all Distro's

eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes_pcpunk_leavemehere

 


#4 catsears

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 11:01 AM

thanks for your help. but being a newbie to this stuff, I'm not "computing" these things.  I've tried File Viewer Plus, just dont get it!  sorry.  sure would like to know what these pics/docs are - obviously I thought they should be encrypted and by keeping the userkey.psw and encrypt certific file, they would be easy to get back into! boy how dumb......

 

well, thanks, and if any other ideas/suggestions come up, please let me know.  not gonna delete'em yet, there's GOTTA be a way!



#5 britechguy

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 11:25 AM

The problem being is that there are a multitude of possible encryption methods you could have used.  One has to know what one used to encrypt because that same tool will be used to decrypt.

 

Knowing that a file is encrypted is not enough (which is kinda the point, in a way).

 

Not to rub salt in an open wound, but this is one of the reasons I advise against encrypting virtually anything in the first place.  It's far easier, and safer, as far as I'm concerned, to copy files off on to external storage (e.g., a USB drive, microSD card, external hard disk drive or solid state drive) that remains unconnected to the system unless those files are needed, then deleting them off of the system itself, than it is to encrypt them.  It saves just this kind of heartache.


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#6 pcpunk

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 12:49 PM

What happens when you click on the file that you want to open?


sBCcBvM.png

Created by Mike_Walsh

 

KDE, Ruler of all Distro's

eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes_pcpunk_leavemehere

 


#7 catsears

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 01:36 PM

ok, when I click on userkey.psw, it goes to ms word with a small box with gobbly-gook in it, no english, just "tech talk"; when I click on the envelope icon with key for "encrypt certifi file" is says access denied, also the block the "access" is in, top is invalid public key security object f......

 

doesnt make sense, dont know what they mean or where to go.....thanks so much!



#8 pcpunk

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 02:24 PM

Sorry I can't be of any help with this.  I can only suggest reading that link I provided but you did not say if you had done so???

 

Can you open the files on the old computer?


sBCcBvM.png

Created by Mike_Walsh

 

KDE, Ruler of all Distro's

eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes_pcpunk_leavemehere

 


#9 catsears

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 02:34 PM

I certainly appreciate your time, for sure.  I read all of it, but doesnt make much sense; will continue to try though.  there is no old computer, just this one, which went to shop over 6 mos ago, os was reinstalled, etc. 

 

thanks again! 



#10 joseibarra

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 01:29 AM

The file userkey.psw has nothing to do with encryption (think PSW = Password Recovery).

 

The file userkey.psw is what Windows saves on a password reset disk/USB that you make from Control Panel, Users:

 

Attached File  Untitled.jpg   82.77KB   0 downloads

 

If you used Windows to encrypt files/folders on Computer A you would have been prompted to create and save an Encryption Certificate or you can create one manually at any time:

 

Attached File  1.jpg   160.17KB   0 downloads

 

The Encryption Certificate would normally be saved and backed up on a floppy/USB thumb drive or some other removable media:

 

Attached File  2.jpg   67.36KB   0 downloads

 

If you then have a backup of your encrypted files and then reformat Computer A or reinstall Windows on Computer A and restore your backed up encrypted files you will not be able to access them without the Encryption Certificate you made before.  If you don't have the original Encryption Certificate you will never be able to access the encrypted files - your data is lost.

 

If you take Computer B and copy the encrypted files to Computer B you will not be able to access the encrypted files on Computer B without the Encryption Certificate you made on Computer A.

 

If you do not have the Encryption Certificate from Computer A you will never be able to access the encrypted files - in that case your data is lost.

 

This is a fairly common problem because folks don't understand how Windows encryption works or don't follow the directions for how to use it

 

The problem is folks encrypt their files/folders and do not have or keep a copy of the Encryption Certificate from the original system.

 

Then for some reason they reformat or reinstall Windows, restore their encrypted files/folders or move the encrypted files to another computer and can't access them.

 

The encrypted files/folders can't be accessed because they don't have the Encryption Certificate from the original installation - in that case the data is lost.

 

MS TechNet sums it up

 

By far, the most frequent problem with EFS occurs when EFS encryption keys and/or recovery keys aren't archived. If keys aren't backed up, they cannot be replaced when lost. If keys cannot be used or replaced, data can be lost. If Windows is reinstalled (perhaps as the result of a disk crash) the keys are destroyed. If a user's profile is damaged, then keys are destroyed. In these, or in any other cases in which keys are damaged or lost and backup keys are unavailable, then encrypted files cannot be decrypted. The encryption keys are bound to the user account, and a new iteration of the operating system means new user accounts. A new user profile means new user keys. If keys are archived, or exported, they can be imported to a new account. If a revocation agent for the files exists, then that account can be used to recover the files. However, in many cases in which keys are destroyed, both user and revocation keys are absent and there is no backup, resulting in lost data.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#11 pcpunk

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 08:46 AM

Don't give up hope yet, someone with more experience with this may come along.  

 

I assume you had a Power On Password on the pc before the reinstall?

 

Do you still have the Windows.old Folder in the C Drive?

 

I would love to see a pic of the Folder you are Clicking on, and any other windows that come up.

 

Did you create Password Reset Disks?

 

Did you backup the certificate?

 

Either way, I would leave the files there for a while if they are important as there may be a way of getting to them that we have not found yet, but it don't look good.


Edited by pcpunk, 05 August 2018 - 08:56 AM.

sBCcBvM.png

Created by Mike_Walsh

 

KDE, Ruler of all Distro's

eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes_pcpunk_leavemehere

 





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