I had a file which contains images and videos, I was using the windows 7 ultimate and I had encrypted the file. Now I have copied that file to my hard disk and format that operating system and again. I installed a fresh copy of operating system windows7 ultimate, now when I want to see my file which I had saved in hard disk, file is not opening and generate some permission issues.

How can I recover my data?

  • Can you confirm that: 1. The file was encrypted using Windows 7 Encrypting File System (EFS) by right-clicking on a file, choosing Advanced and selecting "Encrypt contents to secure data". 2. Do you have a backup of the computer before you reinstalled Windows? 3. Where did you copy the file when you reinstalled Windows? Sep 22, 2011 at 10:33
  • Pls add specifics on how files were encrypted (missing at time of posting this comment).
    – Garrett
    Dec 9, 2011 at 15:58

2 Answers 2


Do you have a copy of the key?


Connect the drive that contains the encrypted file. Connect the drive that contains the backed-up certificate and key. Start certmgr.msc Import the certificate

You should now have access to the files.



you can never open the encrypted files if you don't have the certification keys for the OS where you encrypt this file.

  • 1
    Do you mean the "encryption keys" and not "certification keys"? I'm not sure what a "certification key" is.
    – schroeder
    May 6, 2015 at 18:57

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