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How to Encrypt Files and Folders with Encrypting File System (EFS) in Windows 10

information   Information
The Encrypting File System (EFS) is the built-in encryption tool in Windows used to encrypt files and folders on NTFS drives to protect them from unwanted access. EFS enables transparent encryption and decryption of files for your user account by using advanced, standard cryptographic algorithms. Any individual or app that doesn't possess the appropriate file encryption key cannot open any encrypted files and folders. Encryption is the strongest protection that Windows provides to help you keep your individual files and folders secure.

This tutorial will show you how to encrypt your files and folders with Encrypting File System (EFS) in Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

Note   Note
When you encrypt a file or folder with EFS in Windows 10, its icon will have a lock overlay at the top right corner to indicate that it's an EFS encrypted file or folder.

When you encrypt a folder, any new file saved into the folder will automatically be encrypted by EFS.

If an administrator changes or resets the password of a user's local account on the PC, that local account will lose access to all their EFS encrypted files and folders until they restore the file encryption key for them.

If you encrypt a compressed file or folder, the file or folder will no longer be compressed afterwards.

If you compress an EFS encrypted file or folder, the file or folder will no longer be encrypted afterwards.

If you ZIP an EFS encrypted file or folder, the file or folder will no longer be encrypted afterwards.

If you try to copy or move an EFS encrypted file or folder to a location that does not support encryption, you will be prompted with a "Do you want to copy this file without encryption" type dialog like below.
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warning   Warning
It is highly recommended that you back up your file encryption key after encrypting files and folders to help avoid permanently losing access to your encrypted files and folders.

If you lose access to your encrypted files and folders, you will not be able to open them again unless you first restore the file encryption key for them.
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CONTENTS:





Encrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10 OPTION ONE Encrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10
To Encrypt Folder in Advanced Attributes

1. Right click or press and hold on a folder you want to encrypt with EFS, and click/tap on Properties.

2. In the General tab, click/tap on the Advanced button. (see screenshot below)

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3. Check the Encrypt contents to secure data box, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

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4. Click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

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5. Select (dot) to either Apply changes to this folder only or Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files for what you want, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

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Encrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10 OPTION TWO Encrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10
To Encrypt File in Advanced Attributes

1. Right click or press and hold on a file you want to encrypt with EFS, and click/tap on Properties.

2. In the General tab, click/tap on the Advanced button. (see screenshot below)

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3. Check the Encrypt contents to secure data box, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

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4. Click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

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5. Select (dot) to either Encrypt the file and its parent folder or Encrypt the file only for what you want, and click/tap on OK. (see screenshot below)

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Encrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10 OPTION THREE Encrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10
To Encrypt Folder in Command Prompt

Note   Note
To see more usage options for the Cipher command, see: Cipher - Microsoft TechNet


1. Open a command prompt.

2. Enter the command you want to use below into the command prompt, and press Enter. (see screenshots below)

(Apply changes to this folder only)
cipher /e "full path of folder"

OR

(Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files)
cipher /e /s:"full path of folder"

Note   Note
Substitute full path of folder in the commands above with the actual full path of the folder you want to encrypt with EFS.


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3. When finished, you can close the command prompt if you like.





Encrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10 OPTION FOUR Encrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10
To Encrypt File in Command Prompt

Note   Note
To see more usage options for the Cipher command, see: Cipher - Microsoft TechNet


1. Open a command prompt.

2. Enter the command below into the command prompt, and press Enter. (see screenshot below)

cipher /e "full path of file with extension"

Note   Note
Substitute full path of file with extension in the command above with the actual full path of the file you want to encrypt with EFS.


Click image for larger version. 

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3. When finished, you can close the command prompt if you like.



That's it,
Shawn