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Windows 7: New op sys, can't access encrypted ext. hard drive

21 Sep 2012   #1

Windows 7 Professional x32
New op sys, can't access encrypted ext. hard drive

I recently made a new install of Win 7 over XP--moved all my (encrypted) files to an external hard drive and reformatted my computer. (The encryption was done by windows, if that helps.) Stupid of me, because the encryption is keyed to my old account and so everything is basically inaccessible. Is there anything to be done? Help very very much appreciated.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Sep 2012   #2

Win 7 Pro 64-bit 7601

If the files weren't really encrypted but just passworded and made "private" you need to change ownership, follow this

If instead we are talking of NTFS encryption, things get more complex.

If you remember the password you used to encrypt them (you can try the old account password or the admin password of XP) you can try this, or this. or google for similar programs.

But if you nuked the old OS and used this kind of encryption I think you're in deep trouble.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Sep 2012   #3

Windows 7 Professional x32

Thanks. I think it's NTFS encryption, as I was able to change ownership but still couldn't get in. I did try the program from EaseUs (hello, free trial) but it just turned up folders with nothing inside, I guess because it's made more for lost/deleted files.
So it looks like my only option is to shell out hundreds for a recovery program like this one. This is probably not going to happen. Guess I'll shelve the drive and wait for a pay raise.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Sep 2012   #4

Windows 10 Pro (x64)

If you did not save the encryption key from the previous installation of Windows...then you are screwed. Having the original password is only part of the puzzle.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 New op sys, can't access encrypted ext. hard drive

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