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Thread: Is it possible to decrypt EFS files without backup certificate

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    125

    Re: Is it possible to decrypt EFS files without backup certificate

    One thing I want to inform here about Recovery agent. You cannot use them unless you have backup certificate. That is the only best way to get your data decrypted. I have to migrate my server and the data also. The certificate was in the drive and using Recovery Agent I was able to get all the data back. It is safe to use EFS, but if you loose the certificate then it becomes more complicated for you to get your files back.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    156
    Thanks for info. But that does not help much. I understand that once the certificate is lost the data is lost. This is not a valid option. There must be encryption service, but it should have some kind of official method that can allow users to get the data back. This simply indicates that none of the recovery software is going to work on the same. Microsoft must provide a paid service for that.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    150
    I had searched on various places about this tool. But nothing is found. I had seen many users on different forums has tested number of software, but none of them guarantee what works. There are rare chances you get a fix for it. EFS is a very powerful encryption service mostly built for servers. Those who are using it must go through Microsoft documentation which has detailed information on the same. Because whatever happens, under all circumstances your data is affected.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    128

    Re: Is it possible to decrypt EFS files without backup certificate

    There are already people above told that it is not possible to recover EFS data without a recovery certificate. Whatever tool you try or software you go for, there are very less chances. I am working on multiple servers where on failed to work properly due to hardware failure. All servers have EFS. I failed to get the data out of it. Luckily that was not so important. Later on I start keeping the backup of certificate in different place so that if something happen it would be easier to replace. I can provide the method of export certificate. For that run mmc.exe. In the file menu click on Add/Remove Snap-in > Add. Then click on Certificates > Add. Later on go to Console Root and then open the Certificate folder. You can find a Personal Folder in that you can locate Certificates. On the right side right click and choose Export.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    113
    If you people are using Windows Vista, then there are some chances. EFS basically uses two keys in which is one is used for encryption and other one for decrypting the data. But Vista uses only one. So if that key is recovered you can simply unlock everything. Recovery Agent can help you here. There are some software on web which searches for this kind of keys and certificate. You can run that try to find out how it actually works. It is always recommended to backup the certificate and keys. Because if that is not done, then there are very less chances to get all stuff back as it was before.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    129
    You must always backup your certificates. Wherever you ask this question, you are going to get the same reply. Missing certificates means no data. I had spoken to some professional data recovery people who said that they try to recover the certificate first. Because that is the only key to decrypt files. It is very critical if the key is not found. Even if you get the data it will be encrypted and usable. So better keep a secure location and export your keys somewhere. Recovery Agent here works perfectly to recovery the files with valid certificate.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    129
    Encrypting simply means you are making your folder private. And the key is the opener. If that is lost then you try recovery tool which act as hacks or cracks. So those methods are neither safe nor ethical to use. It is always recommended to check and learn properly about the encryption service that you are applying on your data.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    104
    There is one thing we can go for. The recovery key or certificate is stored in the user profile. If somehow you are able to restore that then you can decrypt your data back. I do not know Windows is having some kind of procedure, but I am sure this is possible. There are tools but I am doubtful about their ability. They might really works, but there is very less chances of getting a perfect fix or output.

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