Encyption in XP



I was testing with Encryption a couple days ago I encrypted a directory with important stuff I reinstalled XP and now I can not access the directory...

Is there anyway to de-encrypt it or is the directory doomed? :(


Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no way.

Windows Encryption works by assigning your SID to all your files. Only that SID or a SID of the administrator of the pc/domain can decrypt the file. SIDs were designed to be a unique IDing system. Even though you may have the same username/password on the system after the reinstall, your SID is different from the SID used to encrypt the documents. Thus, there is no way you can decrypt them.

It's almost like, you password protected something but have now lost the password and there is no way to recover it ever.

BTW: SID = Security ID - (In the case of your username's SID) A 42 bit security code consisting of your system ID, your system install ID, and your username.

The part that makes SIDs unique: system ID and system install ID.

The part that makes you loose encrypted files in a reinstall (non-repair): system install ID


I still can't believe I lost this and I still think there must be a way to retrieve it.


OSNN Addict
Originally posted by gonaads
I had heard of ppl backing up their SID onto a Floppy. Oh well. :( Time to hit da DELETE Button.
Actually, you can't even do that much. There's no way (I'm aware of) to even delete encrypted NTFS files without their corresponding key, save for a reformat.


I was checking some sites that would recover my files in the directory in the internet..

Do you guys think that this is actually possible?

Or are they only trying to get my money?


I'm a MCSE. Trust me when I say that you will be wasting your money. If you really want those files that bad...

Go on the internet and search for brute force programs that can decrypt Windows Encryption. There are a bunch of them.

It will take about 2-3 days if your PC is fast enough.


Acually I have been able to recover Encrypted files b4.

Ok Here is what i did:
Login as admin
Disable simple file sharing
Right click on folder or file
Goto Security Tab Click advanced
Click on Owner
Take ownership
Close Advanced window and Properties window (This is a Must)

Go back to File/Properties/Security
Click Add Type Administrator
Click check Name It should give you the full admin name
Click OK
Click advanced
Permissions tab
Highlight Admin Account
Check the Inherit from parent the permission entries that apply to the child objects.

If this works you have to do it for EVERY Single file in the folder as well as the folder itself. It will take some time if you have alot of files in the folder.

Note: This will only work if when you reinstalled your Computer Name is the exact same. Also it has to be the Main Administrator account. Sub Admin accounts will not work.
This is a Hit and miss solution It worked for me but it hasn't worked for everyone. And often files end up corrupt when you take them over. Good luck....

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