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Upgraded to Windows 7 - cannot access XP encrypted files

Last response: in Windows XP
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February 1, 2011 11:10:42 PM

I recently took the plunge and upgraded from XP Pro SP3 32-bit to Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. To make things easier, I simply bought a new hard drive and installed Windows 7 onto it, leaving XP alone. This worked fine as I could immediately boot into Windows 7. When I tried going back to XP, I could login and it would work, but it was acting strange. ZoneAlarm said "validation failed - you probably are missing a necessary root certificate". My Fences program said it had detected thats "its integrity had been compromised". Some shortcuts (like the one wot Windows Explorer) weren't found. Windows Explorer was very slow. Documents and Settings subdirectories are no longer accessible. Etc.

But, the worst thing was that I had encrypted a couple directories and I now could no longer decrypt them. I had my financial records (e.g. Quicken, TurboTax) on there that I'd like to recover.

What could I have changed in the XP installation when installing Windows 7 to a separate drive? Is there something I can do to recover? I tried a System Restore - no luck. I'm a little stumped and a lot frustrated. :-) Any help would be greatly appreciated!

---Jim
February 2, 2011 12:02:04 AM

A short update. In the Documents and Settings folder, it is only Application Data folder that I cannot access.

I was able to start mmc, install the certificate plugin and find that I it had a certificate for my encrypted file system. However, I get an "Unable to access My certificate store. Access is denied" when I try to open it. When I export it, the option to export the private key is grayed out (it says "the associated private key cannot be found"). If I continue and export the certificate and then double-click it, I get "A system-level error occurred while verifying trust".

I hope this might help someone think of a suggestion. Is there some problem with my name, or the name of the computer? Many thanks.

JIm
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February 2, 2011 3:25:25 AM



When you added the new drive, did XP's drive letter get bumped as a result?

You may need to disconnect the new drive, boot from the original configuration, de-crypt your files and maybe even copy them out to a flash drive.

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February 2, 2011 7:06:39 AM

You won't be able to access the encrypted files from the Windows 7 installation, but they should be OK from XP. So Tigsounds suggestion sounds very sensible.

Having seen a number of posts from users on various forums about EFS problems, I would recommend that people think very carefully before encrypting files. At the very least create a Recovery Agent to allow you to rescue the file system should something go wrong. But I would strongly advise decrypting a file system before upgrading or re-installing the OS (and also before resizing the partition that it is on). And keep a backup of the unencrypted data somewhere safe.
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February 2, 2011 4:50:26 PM

tigsounds said:
When you added the new drive, did XP's drive letter get bumped as a result?

You may need to disconnect the new drive, boot from the original configuration, de-crypt your files and maybe even copy them out to a flash drive.



Yes. When I boot to Windows 7, the XP drive becomes the D: drive and the W7 drive is C:. When I boot to XP, the XP drive remains as C:.

Unfortunately, I have already tried disconnecting the W7 drive and booting to XP and it didn't act any differently. I could not access any of the encrypted files and still got the strange error messages I mentioned in my original post.

What could have changed that is causing me to fail the security/certificate check? Would a change in the computer name impact it? As I said, I do have the certificate, but it would not export the private key.

Thanks for your help! I do appreciate it - a lot.

Jim
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February 3, 2011 8:39:51 PM

One more piece of information: I noticed that on XP the C:\documents and settings\Jim\Application Data folder was marked as Read-only and that it was empty. However, if I look at the folder from Windows 7 it has all of the data present. The certificates (and other information) that is causing my errors may well be because this folder is "missing" - at least missing as far as XP is concerned. What could have caused this? If there something I can change to resurrect it? :-)

Jim
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February 4, 2011 5:57:57 AM


Do you have hidden files and folders set to stay hidden? If contents of "My Documents" is hidden and Explorer is set to actually hide them, they will indeed be hidden.

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February 4, 2011 1:38:26 PM

No - that is always one of the first things I changed years ago. I did find that my problem with the Application Data folder was a "self-inflicted wound" -I had inadvertently changed the owner was changed from the XP owner to the W7 owner. I couldn't set the owner back, but I changed all of the permissions (for now) to "access by everyone).

That has fixed many of my problems as XP now doesn't get the error messages I was seeing earlier and boots up and looks normal. But, I still cannot view the encrypted files. And, right-clicking on a filename to get its properties takes a l-o-n-g time - and sometimes fails. Finally, all of the shortcuts aren't working.

Jim
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February 5, 2011 4:58:09 AM



Start>Run>Regedit

Go to HKey_Local_Machine\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\EFS key

Choose Edit,New,DWORD Value
Type
EfsConfiguration as the name of the new value
Double-click the new value and change its value to
0 (zero)
restart the computer.


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