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How to Decrypt Files and Folders Encrypted with 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 decrypt your files and folders encrypted with Encrypting File System (EFS) in Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

Note   Note
If you get an unexpected error message like below while trying to decrypt a file or folder, it means that you will need to restore the file encryption key that you backed up for the file or folder before you will be able to decrypt it.
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CONTENTS:





Decrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10 OPTION ONE Decrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10
To Decrypt File or Folder in Context Menu

Note   Note
If you decrypt a file using this option, only the file will be decrypted.

If you decrypt a folder using this option, the folder, subfolders and files will be decrypted.


1. Right click or press and hold on a file or folder you want to decrypt, click/tap on File ownership, and click/tap on Personal. (see screenshot below)

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Decrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10 OPTION TWO Decrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10
To Decrypt Folder in Advanced Attributes

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

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

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3. Uncheck 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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Decrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10 OPTION THREE Decrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10
To Decrypt File in Advanced Attributes

1. Right click or press and hold on a file you want to decrypt, 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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Decrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10 OPTION FOUR Decrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10
To Decrypt 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 /d "full path of folder"

OR

(Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files)
cipher /d /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 decrypt.


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





Decrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10 OPTION FIVE Decrypt Files and Folders with EFS in Windows 10
To Decrypt 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 /d "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 decrypt.


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