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decrypting file: error applying attributes an error occurred applying attributes to the file: path:\filename access is denied Error Applying Attributes. I am the administrator of this computer

Posted on 2009-05-14
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Windows XP Pro. Encrypted file name is colored green. I get an error decrypting a file:  An Error occured applying attributes to the file: path:\filename access is denied. I am the administrator of this computer from installation of Windows  XP.  Under Details: Users that can transparently access this file is my user name.  Running MMC and Looking under Console Root/ Certificates (local computer)/Trusted Root Certification Authorities/Certificates is my admin.  Properties shows Enable all purposes for this certificate, "Encrypting File System" is checked.
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Question by:krunsh1
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by:burningmace
burningmace earned 125 total points
ID: 24395281
Have you tried taking ownership of the file? Under security, go to Advanced -> Owner and click Take Ownership.

Even if you're the administrator, if you didn't create the file and haven't explicitly been granted access to it, then you can't read it. Taking ownership should explicitly grant your access to it.

For more info, take a look at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308993
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by:krunsh1
ID: 24400055
Yes, I have ownership of the file. I tried to encrypt and decrypt another file and it works ok.  I tried to decrypt in safe mode...no sucess.  Perhaps from Microsoft the NOTE: You must be the original encrypter of the file or a designated recovery agent for the file to decrypt. I have been the only user of this computer. If I changed my username at some point would that have an effect? I can't recall if i had, since I have other computers. (I encrypted the files I want to decrypt about 2 years ago). Thanks for your response.
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burningmace earned 125 total points
ID: 24402401
It may be one of several things:

1) If Microsoft updated EFS since then and it caused the old encryption method to be nullified, you might have a scrambled file and in that case your data is lost.
2) If you changed your username, this _MIGHT_ attribute to the issue. Usually the name of the user isn't the issue though, as the old user profile is copied across to the new user name when you rename an account, and the FEK (File Encryption Key encrypted with the EFS private key) is in there.
3) If you changed your username by adding a new administrator account and then deleting the old one, you've lost the FEK key and your data is lost.

From Microsoft:
"Note that a computer that is running Windows XP and that is a member of a workgroup does not have a default recovery agent. You have to manually create a local recovery agent."

This means that because you didn't create an FEK backup disk or a recovery account, there's a good chance that the FEK is lost due to your original admin account being deleted or your account being corrupted at some point in the last 2 years (since you encrypted it).
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Author Closing Comment

by:krunsh1
ID: 31581578
Thanks Burningmace, I didn't know about a recovery account. You explained it well.
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