Cannot Access Encrypted Files After Successfully Importing Encrypting File System (EFS) Certificate


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I encrypted a folder and its contents on my Windows 10 system. I then successfully backed-up (export) my EFS certificate to a thumb drive and successfully imported the EFS certificate to multiple Windows 7 systems. I confirmed the EFS certificate did in fact install on the Windows 7 systems and is located in my Personal | Certificates folder.

However, when I attempt to test the certificate by coping several of the encrypted files from my Windows 10 system to a USB drive and then attempting to open the files on my Windows 7 systems, the file will not open. On the Windows 7 system a .PFILE file extension to each of the documents. It's my understanding the .PFILE indicates a protected file; which would be correct.

I can open the files on the USB drive without any issues on my Windows 10 system. So, I'm confused why I can't open them on either of the Windows 7 systems since I received successful confirmations on my both the export and import of the EFS certificate.

Any suggestions?
 
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Regedit32

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Hi Steve,

You mentioned you exported the Certificate, but did you also export the Private Key?

Without the Private Key you will not be able to open the EFS files on a different system.
 
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Regedit32,

I went through the process a second time and confirmed that I exported the the Private Key. I continue to have the same issue.

UPDATE. My Windows 7 systems are Windows 7 Professional (32-bit). One has SP1, the other SP2. The Windows 10 systems in a 64-bit OS. Could that make a difference? I don't have any issues using the same files on any of the three systems as long as they are are not encrypted.

I added a new user to my Windows 10 system and tried to open the EFS files. I received an error message: "There was an error opening this document: Access Denied". That's what I expected, I then imported the EFS certificate to the new user's profile and opened the files without any issues. This is exactly what I'm trying to do on my Windows 7 systems, but I can't the process to work on the EFS files.

On both Windows 7 systems I receive a message that Windows cannot open the file. The file name appears (e.g., TestDocument.docx.PFILE). Because the .PFILE is added, it's wants to know what program I want to use to open .PFILE files. I have two options (1) search the internet (2) select an installed program. As an example the file name TestDocument.docx appears as TestDocument.docs.PFILE on both Windows 7 systems.

It occurs on all files. I tested Adobe Acrobat Document (.pdf), Text (txt), MS Excel (xlsx), MS Word (docx), MS PowerPoint (pptx), and Photo (jpg) files. In each case, when I open File Explore on the Windows 7 systems, I see the file name, file extension and .PFILE (e.g., TestDocument.pdf.PFILE). If I move the files back to the Windows 10 system, I see the file name and file extension (e.g., TestDocument.pdf); they open without an issues.
 
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Trouble

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Is the Windows 10 computer also Pro or above.
I was reading something the other day that suggested that EFS wasn't a feature included with the downlevel versions like "Home", which was news to me.... I knew Bitlocker needed pro or above but I thought that EFS was just a feature of an NTFS volume.
 
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Yes, the Windows 10 system and both of the Windows 7 systems are the Professional versions.
 
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Just a quick question since I don't yet know if it is related might be what configuration are your drives in, GPT or MBR...
 
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Have you come across anything which mentions a Rights Management Sharing (RMS) application? When I look for how to open a .pfile this application seems to pop up.
 

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