What to do when accidentally encrypting files?

I accidentally encrypted a folder full of files while messing around with my computer (XP Pro); apparently, a certificaton "key" is needed to access the files  now.  Any easy soltuion other than my files are lost?  For interest, how or where does the key come from?
martyjonAsked:
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Rich RumbleConnect With a Mentor Security SamuraiCommented:
The persons account who encrypted initially, or the administrator should be able to decrypt. If your pc is joined to a domain, then the domain administrator account (not just the IT guy, but using the actual domain administrator account) can decrypt the folder, or if your PC is not joined to a domain the local administrator account is the DRA.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb457020.aspx#EIAA
It is possible that the domain admin setup a dra at the domain level and that account will have to be used if so. You should be able to copy the files to a non-ntfs file system, typically a usb stick is formatted as a fat-32 file system, and if you have proper access to the files that will decrypt them on the fly. If you don't have the proper access you will be denied when you try to copy them.
http://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/Security/Encryption/Microsofts-Encrypted-FileSystem.html
-rich
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