Everything You Need To Know About Encrypting And Decrypting Files

Written by John Harris, Updated on October 11, 2023

Encryption is a process of altering data or information using some algorithm or a secret code. The data, thus encrypted, cannot be read by others as it is unintelligent to unauthorized users.

Encryption can be done on Windows computers using the Encryption File System (EFS). The EFS feature was introduced with NTFS version 3.0. With Encryption File System, user data is more secure. The EFS is bundled with NTFS; hence, it can be managed easily and not be cracked easily.

A file or folder should be encrypted when they have confidential and important data. To encrypt a file or folder on an NTFS-formatted Windows computer, follow the simple steps:

How to Encrypt Files / Folders on Windows?

  • To open Windows Explorer, Click on
  • Start > All Programs > Windows Explorer

  • Locate and right-click the file in the window and click Properties.
  • Click the Advanced button from the General tab.
  • Encrypting file
    Fig. 1 Encrypting File / Folder

  • Select the Encrypt contents to secure data check box under Compress or Encrypt attributes and click OK.
  • Once the user clicks OK, a pop-up asks to confirm the changes made.

Confirm Encrypting file
Fig. 2 Confirm Encyption

Once the Attribute changes are applied, the folder or file will be encrypted. While encrypting a folder or file, you should back up your encryption certificate.

How To Decrypt Files / Folders on Windows?

To decrypt any file or folder, follow the steps.

  • In Windows Explorer, right-click on a folder or file you want to decrypt and click Properties.
  • Click the General tab, and then click Advanced.
  • Uncheck the Encrypt contents to secure the data check box, then click OK.

EFS does encryption and decryption on Windows computers for safe transmission over the network; EFS can be used with other network protocols.

Before the encryption process, the message is known as plain text; ‘cipher ‘converts the plain text to unreadable ciphertext. The encryption is done on the Sender’s end and is decrypted on the Receiver’s end. Decryption is the reverse encryption procedure; it decodes the ciphertext into plain text, which the receiver can read and understand. Is software available to encrypt and decrypt files to be transmitted safely across many networks?

Related Information

Recover Files from Formatted NTFS Partition

Files are encrypted on the NTFS partition to restrict their access to certain people. To others, this file would be encoded and of no clear meaning. While formatting the NTFS partition, users might not realize the important encrypted files. Are you one such user? Read the article and un-format encrypted files from the NTFS partition after formatting.

NTFS File Recovery

Your EFS-encrypted files stored on the Windows NTFS partition might be deleted accidentally. In a hassle, you might delete an important encrypted file using the Shift + Delete key combination. If you are facing such an issue, don’t worry we have the perfect solution for your problem – Remo Recover (Windows).

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