Cannot Preview Encrypted Files in File Explorer

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  1. Posts : 12
    Windows 10 Pro
       #1

    Cannot Preview Encrypted Files in File Explorer


    I just made the move from a Vista 64-bit machine to a Windows 10 Pro machine (64-bit). I have been able to sort out, work around, and learn many things to get this machine to do what I need it to do.

    However, there is one issue I have not been able to solve. When using File Explorer to preview encrypted files, the preview pane displays, "The file you are attempting to preview could harm your computer. If you trust the file and the source you received it from, open it to view its contents." This message is displayed for every single encrypted file. It does not matter if it is pdf, txt, or another file type.

    It is important to note that while many of these files are on an external hard drive from my previous machine, this happens immediately with encrypted files saved on this new Windows 10 machine.

    I have been scouring Google to try to find an answer. It looks like a few others are having this issue, too, but it does not look like anyone has found an answer yet. One post said it could not be done, but considering I was able to do this in Vista, I cannot accept that answer.

    I relied heavily on the preview feature in Vista and really need this to work in Windows 10. It kills my productivity to have to open each file instead of just taking a quick glance at it!

    Can anyone help me figure out how to fix this?
      My Computer

  2. ricardobohner's Avatar
    Posts : 385
    Windows 10
       #2

    Is this bitlocker encryption or normal encryption?
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 12
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Hi, Ricardo. Thanks for replying.

    I set up the certificate under Vista and transferred it to Windows 10. I see that BitLocker was a feature that was included in Windows versions starting with Vista, so I would guess it is BitLocker encryption?

    How can I figure out which encryption it is? A quick search on Google does not yield results to help me answer your question.

    Thanks.

    - - - Updated - - -

    After some digging around, I found the BitLocker settings in Control Panel. They are set to "off" on both the Vista and Windows 10 machines, so it would appear that the encryption is normal.

    More information: From what I can tell, it looks like if I was using BitLocker, the entire drive would be encrypted. Is this correct? Only some of the files on my drive are encrypted because not all of them need to be. When I initially encrypted the files, I was in Windows Explorer and right clicked to encrypt them.

    Does this help you to help me better?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Update: I did some more digging and found that I am able to preview encrypted image files, like jpg and png. There is a giant lock icon in the upper right hand corner of the preview, but that is not a huge concern at the moment.
      My Computer

  4. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 59,389
    64-bit Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
       #4

    Hello DiamondGirl,

    The lock on the top right of the icon indicates it may have been encrypted by EFS.

    Encrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10

    If so, you would need to backup your EFS certificate and key from the computer you encrypted them on, and then import this EFS certificate and key to the computer you want to view them on.

    Backup Encrypting File System Certificate and Key in Windows 10

    Import Encrypting File System Certificate and Key in Windows 10
      My Computers


  5. Posts : 12
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #5

    Thanks, Brink. I appreciate your reply.

    I have already backed up the certificate and key from the old computer on which they were encrypted and imported the certificate and key to the new computer.

    I can open the files without any problems, but for some reason, I cannot view them in File Explorer. Being able to preview, rather than open the files, is super important for productivity. Perhaps there is some security setting I can change?
      My Computer

  6. thomaseg1's Avatar
    Posts : 13,266
    Windows 10 Pro (x64) 20H2 19042.804 & 21327.1000
       #6

    this maybe a work around
    right click on a encrypted file choose properties and see if there is an entry called unblock file.
    You can try taking ownership of the file (not sure if it would work) .
    some file explorer alternatives that might work.
    The 7 Best Windows File Explorer Alternatives and Replacements
      My Computers



  7. Posts : 12
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Thanks, thomaseg1.
    No, the files are not blocked. That was the very first thing I checked, expecting that to be the problem.
    I already checked to make sure I had ownership of the files. I checked again to be sure, and I still do.
    I will check out your suggestions for alternatives and post back here after I review them.
    In the mean time, I am open to other suggestions if you or others have any.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Update: So far, I tried six different alternatives, and none of them have worked. XYplorer partially worked, as I was able to view my txt files, but it still will not display pdfs. It seems there must be some sort of security setting that needs to be changed, but where, oh where, can that be?
      My Computer

  8. thomaseg1's Avatar
    Posts : 13,266
    Windows 10 Pro (x64) 20H2 19042.804 & 21327.1000
       #8

    Attachment 233203
    open properties on a encrypted file ...next to read only / hidden click the advance button.
      My Computers


  9. Posts : 12
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #9

    Thanks, thomaseg1.

    I am very familiar with the Advanced Attributes window. Both File attributes are selected, and under "Compress or Encrypt attributes," only "Encrypt contents to secure data" is selected.

    There has to be some sort of security setting in Windows 10 that is preventing me from previewing these files. Any ideas?
      My Computer

  10. thomaseg1's Avatar
    Posts : 13,266
    Windows 10 Pro (x64) 20H2 19042.804 & 21327.1000
       #10

    I meant for you to uncheck them, sorry.
    I was hoping that would work....
    I'm abit out of ideas here unless you have adobe acrobat pro (for pdf s) and can open them and then resave them
    without encyption.
      My Computers


 
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