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Thread: A Faster Way to Encrypt Your Files

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    Thumbs up A Faster Way to Encrypt Your Files

    By Diana Huggins

    If your drives are formatted with NTFS, you have the option of using encryption. Windows XP uses the Encrypting File System (EFS) which lets you encrypt your folders and files for increased security. Normally to encrypt a folder or file, you would have to do so from the folder or file's properties window and access the advanced attributes. Wouldn't it be great though if you could just encrypt or decrypt a file or folder using the shortcut menu?

    Well here's a nifty little tip that does just that... it adds the encrypt and decrypt options to the shortcut menu for a folder or file. Of course, a word of caution: the following steps do require you to modify the registry, so proceed carefully:

    Click Start, point to run, and type regedit.
    Within the Registry Editor, navigate to the following subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced.
    Click the Edit menu, point to New, and select Dword value.
    Type in EncryptionContextMenu. Configure the value as 1.
    You should now be able to encrypt or decrypt any of your folders and files using the shortcut menu.


    From the Lockergnome Newsletter. I should think this would indeed be faster.. Having a shorcut menu present, makes this as simple as you can get.


  2. #2
    all bets are off... TZ Veteran SupaStar's Avatar
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    Hey I like that. Nice tip!

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    I made a registry script to do this.. not sure if it works properly.. It worked on my machine, that much I am certain about..
    use it at your own risk:

    Directions:

    Just right click the file and click merge. Make sure you are using Windows XP and the NTFS file system.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    extra warning (thanks egghead):

    The process of enabling EFS is quick and simple, but the consequences of losing your private key can be catastrophic. If your user account is damaged or deleted then you will almost certainly lose the decryption key and your data will be effectively lost. To avoid this you should backup your personal encryption certificate immediately after the service has been enabled.



    So backup your decryption key if you encrypt any files or folders beforehand!

  5. #5
    Security Intelligence TZ Veteran cash_site's Avatar
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    Yes was just going to give that warning BB, the context menu is great, but do becareful what you encrypt and DONT lose the KEY!!

    --- 0wN3D by 3gG ---

  6. #6
    Old and Cranky Super Moderator rik's Avatar
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    At what point does it display the encryption key or where does it come from?

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    An EFS guide below:

    http://www.petri.co.il/how_does_efs_work.htm

    To decrypt a file or folder:

    To decrypt a file or folder

    1. Open Windows Explorer.
    2. Right-click the encrypted file or folder, and then click Properties.
    3. On the General tab, click Advanced.
    4. Clear the Encrypt contents to secure data check box.


    Below is a way to backup your EFS private key:

    Export your Private Key from Recovery Agent

    1. Log on to your computer using the local Administrator account. NOTE: You must use the built-in Administrator account, not just an account with Administrator privileges.


    2. Click Start, click Run, type secpol.msc, and then click OK.


    3. Click the plus sign (+) next to Public Key Policies to expand this item.


    4. Click the Encrypted Data Recovery Agents category.


    5. In the right-hand pane, a certificate that is issued to "Administrator" with an intended purpose of "file recovery" is displayed. Right-click this item, and then click All tasks > export.


    6. Click Next.


    7. Ensure the Yes, export the private key option is selected, and then click Next.


    8. In the Export File Format dialog box, if you want to remove the private key associated with the Administrator account, click to select the Delete the private key if the export is successful check box.


    9. If your computer is a member of a Windows domain, the domain administrator can designate certain users as EFS recovery agents, who can recover data even if a specific user's private key is lost.



    10. If your computer is not participating in a Windows domain, (for example, a stand-alone computer, or a computer in a Microsoft Windows NT 4.0-based domain structure), the local Administrator account is the designated EFS recovery agent. Because of this, you can recover your encrypted data only if you previously backed up the local administrator's private key.

    http://www.jsiinc.com/SUBI/tip4400/rh4474.htm

    It is a rather involved process, and I have not tested this yet. But when I get home I will.

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