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Windows 7: EFS Question about Restoring Prior Windows Installation (windows.old)

07 Nov 2015   #1

Win 7 Ultimate - 64bit
EFS Question about Restoring Prior Windows Installation (windows.old)

I'm planning to restore my previous windows installation using the windows.old folder because I lost access to a LOT of files after I clean-installed windows (Win7 64 -> Legit Win7 64) because I (foolishly) encrypted using the built in Windows EFS instead of TrueCrypt for some reason I can't remember I -think- I have tried everything with regards to finding the old keys in my windows.old folder, but no luck. As such...

If I restore the previous installation via windows.old (the version that I encrypted the files with), would that allow me to regain access to the files I encrypted with EFS? After I unencrypt my hundreds of files, I am planning to go back to my current installation of windows, if possible. I'd ideally not want to reinstall everything all over again, but if that's what it takes to unencrypt my files I will do it.

In case it's a bit confusingly worded, my process is:
  1. On current installation(legit) without access to EFS encrypted files
  2. Restore using windows.old, installation that initially encrypted files using EFS
  3. Unencrypt my files
  4. Restore to the current installation(legit) I was on (from step 1)
  5. Be happy, hopefully not lose any files in the process
  6. Be smart and use TrueCrypt
EDIT: The EFS encrypted files are all in different drives, none in the boot drive.

EDIT2: I have the stuff from

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Nov 2015   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit sp1

Hi Kokuyo, welcome to the Forum.

This Seven Forums link should help you. Be sure to read it right through. You should back up your existing Windows Old beforehand.
Bear in mind it will not be a perfect install but it might get you out of trouble.

Windows.old folder - Restore into a new installation
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Nov 2015   #3

Win 7 Ultimate - 64bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Ranger4 View Post
Be sure to read it right through. You should back up your existing Windows Old beforehand.
Bear in mind it will not be a perfect install but it might get you out of trouble.
Definitely, was planning to use that guide. Backing up my only -potential- key to my files is a very good idea, doing that now. Do you know if it will work to recover my EFS encrypted files?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Nov 2015   #4

Win 7 Ultimate, Win 8.1 Pro, Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon (All 64-Bit)

As long as you exported your EFS key/certificate beforehand, you will have no problem accessing your files.

Backing up the Encrypting File System (EFS) certificate - Windows Help

If you didn't do that, I'm not sure there is a way of recovering them except with expensive paid software.

Decrypt and recover files protected with the Encrypting File System (EFS)

Restoring the previous installation "should" work but I'm not 100% sure.

Also, truecrypt is a little outdated now and no longer updated, you might want to look into Veracrypt which is a fork of truecrypt and is being updated:
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 EFS Question about Restoring Prior Windows Installation (windows.old)

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