Access Denied to Encrypted Folders

Discussion in 'Windows Vista General Discussion' started by WJB, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. WJB

    WJB Guest

    Hi,

    I'm running Norton 360 on Vista Ultimate. N360 complained that my account
    had a weak password so I fixed it by changing my password to a strong one.
    Now I cannot access any of my encrypted folders. I tried changing my password
    back just to decrypt the folders, still no success. When I did encrypt the
    folders Vista didn't ask me for an encryption password so I assume it used my
    account password for this purpose. Any idea how I can resolve this?

    Thanks
     
    WJB, Dec 5, 2007
    #1
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  2. WJB

    Derik Guest

    try and take control of the folder. if u do not know how to do this ask
    and i will tell you how.
     
    Derik, Dec 5, 2007
    #2
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  3. WJB

    Rick Rogers Guest

    Hi,

    Encryption does not use your password, it uses an encryption certificate
    created when you first encrypt a folder. I'm not sure what affect Norton360
    may have had on the system when you changed the password, but simply doing
    so should not have had any affect on accessing the encrypted folders. Have
    you made any other changes to your user account?
     
    Rick Rogers, Dec 6, 2007
    #3
  4. WJB

    WJB Guest

    Thanks, Derik. I'm not sure I know what "take control of the folder means"?
    I'm the administrator on this computer; doesn't this mean I have full control
    over all its folders?
     
    WJB, Dec 6, 2007
    #4
  5. WJB

    WJB Guest

    Thanks, Rick. Without actually knowing this, I did notice that after I
    encrypted the folders, I was asked to backup an encryption certificate, which
    I did. Later, I changed my password to the strong password after being
    prompted by N360. When I couldn't open or unencrypt any file in an encrypted
    folder, I changed my password back, thinking that that was the issue. I was
    prompted again to backup the encryption key, which I backed up to a different
    file. However, I have tried re-importing (restoring) back both encyrption
    keys with no success.

    Another question that comes to mind is: can you have multiple encryption
    keys in effect with Windows selecting whichever one was used to enrypt a
    particular folder? I'm concerned that I have encrypted some folders BEFORE
    changing to the strong password, and some after, with an encryption key
    backup in between.

    Thanks for explaining this to me. However, I'm still stuck!
     
    WJB, Dec 6, 2007
    #5
  6. WJB

    Derik Guest

    not necessarily. to take control of a folder means to make yourself the
    creator/owner of it. and the creator/owner of a folder can deny the
    administrator rights to the folder.
     
    Derik, Dec 6, 2007
    #6
  7. WJB

    WJB Guest

    Derik & Rick,

    I took control of the files. I was the creator/owner on most of them anyway,
    but I am now on all of them. However, I read in the on-line help that even
    creator/owner rights won't make encrypted folders or files accessible without
    the correct encryption key. So I again restored/imported all backed up pfx
    files and checked the Cert manager to make sure they're there. However, still
    no access. Important: When backing up and restoring the .pfx keys, I accepted
    the defaults since I didn't really know any better to change anything.

    I'm not sure I understand how this all works. In understand that the
    encryption key is not related to the Windows account password, but Windows
    did change it on me, I'm guessing that it happened when I changed my password
    to a strong one. That is the only security-related action I've taken in the
    last month. If Windows picks encryption keys on its own and changes them on
    itw own, how can a user guarantee that files encrypted today are accessible
    tomorrow?

    One other thing. Before I changed the password, I made a full system backup.
    Is there a way I can restore specific files only. The backup set is referred
    to as a WindowsImageBackup and is made up of a couple of .vhd files and a
    number of .xml files. Can I verify somehow that the files I'm looking for are
    in that backup without risking a restore that overwrites my computer? If not,
    is my only option to get a spare drive and replace it in my system then
    restore to it so I can retrieve the files?

    Finally, are there any good articles you can recommend for these two topics:
    Encryption and Certificates, and Full System Backup and Restore. The online
    help doesn't provide much information. For example, if I perform a full
    system backup, is there a way I can create a minimal system bootable CD that
    I can use to boot the system and restore the complete image backup?

    Thank you both very much for your help.
     
    WJB, Dec 7, 2007
    #7
  8. WJB

    brink Guest

    Hi WJB,

    Here is a little trick that will give you full access to the encrypted
    files again.

    1. Right click on the encrytped files
    2. Click Send To -> Compressed (zipped) Folder
    3. Extract the files from the ZIP folder.

    The extracted files will not be encrypted anymore, and you willl now
    have full access to them again.

    Shawn


    --
    brink

    *There are no dumb questions, just the people that do not ask them.*
    WWW.VISTAX64.COM (\"HTTP://WWW.VISTAX64.COM\")
    *Please post feedback to help others.*
     
    brink, Dec 7, 2007
    #8
  9. WJB

    Rick Rogers Guest

    Hi,

    Unfortunately, I've no idea what N360 might've done to your system. Just
    changing the password should not have required that a new encryption
    certificate be backed up. Are you certain N360 didn't have you create a new
    account altogether? Vista does not change the key once created, so something
    else is causing it to happen.
     
    Rick Rogers, Dec 7, 2007
    #9
  10. WJB

    WJB Guest

    Thanks, Brink. Didn't work, however. It displayed two dialog boxes:

    1. Windows cannot create the Compressed (zipped) Folder here. Do you want it
    to be placed on the desktop instead?

    Answer Yes.

    2. File not found or no read permission.

    Doesn't it need to unencrypt the files before it can compress them?
     
    WJB, Dec 7, 2007
    #10
  11. WJB

    WJB Guest

    Here's a piece of data that might shed some light on this. Might also mean
    bad news for me.

    If you change one user's password from another (as in changing my user
    password having logged in as the Admin), Vista displays the Change xxx's
    password window with the statement:

    You are changing the password for xxx. If you do this, xxx will lose all
    EFS-encrypted files, personal certificates, and stored passwords for Web
    sites and network resources.

    To avoid losing data in the future, ask xxx to make a password reset floppy
    disk.

    In all the confusion, I might have actually done that while trying to create
    a strong password, because at one point, I remember now, Vista wouldn't log
    me in, so I logged in as a different (administrator) user to reset my
    password. It seems strange that you would lose all EFS-encrypted files,
    personal certificates, and stored passwords for Web sites and network
    resources in situation like this. Worse still, I created and installed a
    Recovery Certificate using the cipher command line tool, but that didn't work
    either. I'm guessing that at this point, these files are actually kaput;
    unless somebody has any other thoughts.
     
    WJB, Dec 7, 2007
    #11
  12. WJB

    brink Guest

    WJB,

    You might try this 30 day trail program to see if it can decrypt them
    for you.

    'CRACK PASSWORD - Advanced EFS Data Recovery'
    (http://www.crackpassword.com/products/prs/mswin/efs/)

    Shawn


    --
    brink

    *There are no dumb questions, just the people that do not ask them.*
    WWW.VISTAX64.COM (\"HTTP://WWW.VISTAX64.COM\")
    *Please post feedback to help others.*
     
    brink, Dec 7, 2007
    #12
  13. WJB

    Rick Rogers Guest

    Hi,

    Yep, that'd do it all right. That's why the warning is there. The backed up
    certificate though, should allow you to still access them.
     
    Rick Rogers, Dec 7, 2007
    #13
  14. WJB

    WJB Guest

    You would've thought so. The backed up certificate was not much help either
    nor was the EFS key Recovery certificate, which when run via the cipher /u
    command line program, reported all these files as "could not decrypt". Quite
    disappointing. I'll try Brink's suggestion with this Advanced AEFS Data
    Recovery program and see how it does. I'll post a note to report the result,
    success or failure.
     
    WJB, Dec 7, 2007
    #14
  15. WJB

    WJB Guest

    Thanks, Brink. I'll give it a try and report back.
     
    WJB, Dec 7, 2007
    #15
  16. WJB

    brink Guest

    Your welcome WJB,

    Hope it works for you.

    Shawn


    --
    brink

    *There are no dumb questions, just the people that do not ask them.*
    WWW.VISTAX64.COM (\"HTTP://WWW.VISTAX64.COM\")
    *Please post feedback to help others.*
     
    brink, Dec 7, 2007
    #16
  17. WJB

    WJB Guest

    The utility worked very nicely. Thank you both very much for your help in
    resolving this.
     
    WJB, Dec 8, 2007
    #17
  18. WJB

    brink Guest

    WJB,

    Glad to hear it resolved your problem. Thank you for the feedback.

    Shawn


    --
    brink

    *There are no dumb questions, just the people that do not ask them.*
    WWW.VISTAX64.COM (\"HTTP://WWW.VISTAX64.COM\")
    *Please post feedback to help others.*
     
    brink, Dec 8, 2007
    #18
  19. WJB

    WJB Guest

    One other question if you know the answer. It's a question I had included
    before but it got buried in trying to resolve the main issue. And that is
    concerning a full system backup and restore.

    1. Can specific files be restored from a full system backup performed from
    within Vista's backup facility?
    2. Having a full system backup, and assuming a hard drive crash and a new
    replacement drive installed. How does one invoke a full system restore
    without having any software (not even Windows) on the drive? Is there a way
    to create a bootable CD with minimal capability to boot the system and
    perform the restore?
    3. Finally, when I try to perform a backup, I can see any external USB
    drives connected to my computer, but I cannot see any network drives, which
    is really my preferred backup drive since it is a much larger capacity. How
    can I make Vista see these network drives from within the Backup utility
    given that Windows Explorer can see and access it with no problem?

    Thanks
     
    WJB, Dec 8, 2007
    #19
  20. WJB

    brink Guest

    WJB,

    Q1. Sorry, it can only be a complete restore from this backup. If you
    want to backup and restore individual files, then see:

    http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/100133-backup-files.html

    and

    http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/100253-restore-backup-files.html


    Q2. You can restore a complete backup using your Vista installation
    DVD. This tutorial will show you how.

    http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/99718-restore-complete-computer.html


    Q3. I'm not sure on the networked drives. I would use the USB devices
    or DVD's so they were always there if needed.

    Hope this helps,
    Shawn


    --
    brink

    *There are no dumb questions, just the people that do not ask them.*
    WWW.VISTAX64.COM (\"HTTP://WWW.VISTAX64.COM\")
    *Please post feedback to help others.*
     
    brink, Dec 8, 2007
    #20
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