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Windows 7 encryption issues

Posted on 2014-04-14
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Last Modified: 2014-05-18
Hello,

I had encrypted some files on a customers Windows 7 pc a few years ago using the windows encryption by right clicking and choosing advanced properties and then choosing encrypt files. I had recently used a program to copy the profile and join the pc to a domain. Well now the user can't open the encrypted files which are very important. Is there a program or something that I can get to decrypt these? When I try to decrypt them it just says I don't have permissions. I tried logging into the old local account but the files aren't there anymore as they have been copied to the domain profile now.
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Question by:jands
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by:Tony Giangreco
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When you encrypted the files, did it provide a decryption key that you saved somewhere?
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by:jands
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I don't remember.
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by:Niabingi
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if the machine is on the domain it should have a recovery key in AD, are you able to find the pc in AD, if so right click and go to properties and select the bitlocker tab, the password should be there, see attached file.
bitlocker.JPG
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by:jands
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The files were encrypted prior to being joined to the domain.
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by:Niabingi
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oh I see so it is file encryption not drive encryption, you may have to try a third party software or a file recovery service.
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Expert Comment

by:Rich Rumble
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If you have the old PC good, you will not have the EFS keys in AD, they are on the old computer and you cannot recover without them. If you can't locate them, you really are out of luck, have a look at my articles here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Security/Encryption/A_12132-Microsoft-EFS-Recovery.html
-rich
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by:jands
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Ok let me explain better.

Windows 7 Professional computer name was Owner-PC and it was in a workgroup. The user logging into the PC was Bob. I then used ForensIT User Profile Wizard 3.5 to copy the profile and join it to the domain with PC Name OPTI05. I then logged into the machine as domainname\bobsmith and the profile was there. I tried to open the encrypted files and access was denied. I tried EFS recovery tools and nothing was able to be decrypted. I then changed the machine name back to Owner-PC and logged in with the original Bob account and the data was still not readable.
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by:Tony Giangreco
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It sounds like the files actually did get encrypted when you used one of those software apps.
I have not used either one, but it appears the problem was created at that point.

Questions:

Do you take a backup of his data before starting?
Are there any previous versions of backups Bob may have taken?
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Rich Rumble earned 500 total points
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I've never failed the recovery using AEFSDR, the trial version should be able to tell you if you can fully recover it or not. If AEFSDR scan's the HDD and can't find the certificates then I doubt a professional will do much better. Passware is about equal to AEFSDR, so if neither of those trials cannot find the certs, you will not recover those files. The certs are always on the machine however, in the personal certificate store, unless you delete them specifically or reimage the machine, even after joining or unjoining a domain. They aren't available to everyone, but typically you can import them and they will work.
-rich
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by:jands
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AEFSDR worked like a charm.
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by:Rich Rumble
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I love that program :)
-rich
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