Ask the Expert

Can I decrypt data on a Windows 2000 NTFS disc?

A user encrypted important data on Windows 2000 NTFS disc, but then reinstalled Windows 2000 without backing up his personal certificate. Is there any chance to decrypt the data?
Yes, if either the standalone user encryption keys were backed up or the local stand alone server administrator encryption keys were backed up. In either case, import the keys to a new user account and decrypt the files. You say the user keys are not, administrator?

Alternatively, there are data recovery firms and forensic firms that may have a solution. The Guidance software program, Encase, has a EFS module that may be able to recover the credentials, and therefore the data. You may purchase this software from guidance at www.guidance.com.

This was first published in May 2004

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