unencrypt folder that user encrypted

I have a user at my organization who encrypted folders in his account. Now the user is gone and I cannot unencrypt them.

How can I unencrypt them? If I take ownership of the folder, will that allow me to unencrypt?
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
If this is on a domain then by default the domain administrator account has the data recovery agent encryption key and if you log onto the domain with this account tou can open the encrypted file and remove the encryption.

If it is not on a domain then there is no recovery agent by default and chances of recovery are not good.
Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
BTW - taking ownership will give you NTFS permissions - but will not allow you ot unencrypt.
lenivanAuthor Commented:
This is on a domain and I am the domain administrator. However, when I am on the server where the folder actually exists (the user maps to the folder), I cannot unencrypt it. I can change the permissions to view the contents, but I can't actually open the files.

What else can I do?
Has Powershell sent you back into the Stone Age?

If managing Active Directory using Windows Powershell® is making you feel like you stepped back in time, you are not alone.  For nearly 20 years, AD admins around the world have used one tool for day-to-day AD management: Hyena. Discover why.

Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
By default the Data Recovery Agent is mapped to the actual  "Administrator"  account   - inless you have re-mapped it you have to use that specific account - not just any administrator account - but the "Administrator" account, if you see what I mean. if a domain user has encrypted anything this account has the data recovery key - of course you will also need NTFS permissions as well, which you can grant to yourself as administrator.

If the encryptin was done with a workgroup account there is no way back.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
Hello lenivan,

Need to recover encrypted filed from NTFS EFS (Encryption file system)

WARNING without the original Encryption key (somewhere) you are snookered :(

This software is available on 30 day basis (but it doesn't expire)
Advanced EFS security http://www.elcomsoft.com/aefsdr.html
Methods for Recovering Encrypted Data Files

Best practices for the Encrypting File System


Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows Server 2003

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.