How do I disable EFS for the whole C drive?

Posted on 2009-02-24
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I am about to back up a user's data and install a new image.  A lot of their files and folders are encrypted.  I have the ability to decrypt the files but it is tedious since there are a lot of file trees.  Is there a simple command I can run that will turn off file encryption? I've already learned the hard way that if I don't decrypt before I back-up the data, the files will not open.
Question by:USM-Tech
    LVL 76

    Accepted Solution

    You disable EFS for the users.
    Alternatively, you could look at a login script that will change the settings on the folder.

    The common consensus is that each user will need to remove the encrypt setting from folder/files and once all the items are decrypted, you should through GPO disable EFS. Is this system part of a domain or is a stand alone.  You could disable DFS through local policy as well.

    Author Comment

    It is a standalone.  Is there a way to disable EFS for this user?  This is the only user account that I need to back up.
    LVL 76

    Assisted Solution

    Disabling EFS without decrypting the files first, will result in inaccessible files.

    On a standalone system, I am not sure whether you can apply a local policy based on an individual user but it might be possible.

    The backup works, but only the user can decrypt them when restored.


    Author Comment

    Thank you for your input.  It sounds like the best solution is to go through each folder tree, select all files and folders and decrypt.

    Author Comment


    Here is a time-saving tip I came across while in the process of removing encryption from each file.  One folder had 63 subfolders and no files outside the folder.  What I found was that if you "Select All" and decrypt the folder, it will prompt you to apply the changes to all folders and subfolders.  The key is that you have to have all selected but click on an encrypted file for this to take effect.  So here is what I did to save time in the case of the 63 folders (each containing encrypted files) but no encrypted file on the same hierarchy:
    1) Create a small document file on the same hierarchy as the folders.
    2) Encrypt that file.
    3) Select all
    4) Right-Click the file you just created and encrypted and choose Properties.
    5) Select "Advanced..."
    6) Uncheck the "Encrypt contents to secure data" checkbox under Compress or Encrypt attributes
    7) Select OK
    8) In the "Confirm Attribute Changes" box choose "Apply changes to the selected items, subfolders and files
    9) Select OK
    This decrypts not only the file I just encrypted but all the encrypted files in the 63 separate folders.  This saved me from having to open all 63 folders and repeating decryption process.

    Author Closing Comment

    Thank you for the great tip!

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    6 Surprising Benefits of Threat Intelligence

    All sorts of threat intelligence is available on the web. Intelligence you can learn from, and use to anticipate and prepare for future attacks.

    Cryptanalysis is the science of cracking codes and decoding secrets. It is used to violate authentication schemes, to break cryptographic protocols, and, more benignly, to find and correct weaknesses in encryption algorithms. It may be used in in…
    Envision that you are chipping away at another e-business site with a team of pundit developers and designers. Everything seems, by all accounts, to be going easily.
    This video is in connection to the article "The case of a missing mobile phone (". It will help one to understand clearly the steps to track a lost android phone.
    This video discusses moving either the default database or any database to a new volume.

    779 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    11 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now