Step-by-Step Guide to Disable Encrypting File System (EFS)

You can disable EFS for a folder, a computer or even the entire domain. In order to disable EFS for a folder create a file called Desktop.ini that contains:

[Encryption]

Disable=1

All you need to do is to save this file in the folder in which you want EFS to be disabled. When the user wants to encrypt the folder or the files in the folder, this will show him/her a message that “An error occurred applying attributes to the file: filename. The directory has been disabled for encryption.”

Please note that only the current folder with all the files in it are affected by the Desktop.ini file. If you create a subfolder, both the subfolder and any files in it can be encrypted. Also, encrypted files can be copied or moved, without losing their encryption, into the directory that contains the Desktop.ini file.

Disabling EFS for a Stand-Alone Computer

If you want to disable EFS for the entire computer, you need to add an entry to the computer Registry:

  1. In the Run dialog box, type regedit.exe.
  2. Navigate to the subkey HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft \Windows NT\CurrentVersion\EFS.
  3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  4. Enter EfsConfiguration for the value name and 1 for the value data to disable EFS. (A value of 0 enables EFS.)
  5. Restart the computer.
  6. If EFS is disabled and a user tries to encrypt a file or folder, a message tells the user that “An error occurred applying attributes to the file: filename. The directory has been disabled for encryption.”

If you are interested in security and you want more of these detailed step-by-step guides, you could have a look at my recently published ebook by clicking on the book cover below:

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