Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.

Windows 7: Recover EFS certificate from windows.old or .vhd?

05 Sep 2015   #1

Windows 7 64-Bit
Recover EFS certificate from windows.old or .vhd?

My SSD bit the dust, and I've lost my EFS encryption keys. There exists nowhere in windows.old a .pfx file to be found. I do have the credentials from
I have a .vhd backup of the old drive, but it wasn't bootable with the new SSD. After two weeks of work, I wound up re-installing windows 7 and moving the old installation to windows.old.

I need to get the encryption keys out of windows.old so I can gain access to my encrypted files again. I have the windows.old directory and access to my old user profile, I have the .vhd file (which had issues booting with Virtual Machine--never got around to using third party apps). I also tried using "cipher /x" from within the recovery environment when I was logging in with the correct credentials, but it was telling me the system could not find the file specified.

How can I gain access to my encryption keys from my windows backup image or from my windows.old folders? Alternately, how do I migrate the .vhd to a new hard drive and actually boot the darn thing (bare metal recovery)? Isn't that the point of a whole disk image--to be able to back up to a new hard drive when the old one dies out?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2015   #2

W7 home premium 32bit/W7HP 64bit/w10 tp insider ring
folder View

Did you change the attributes to show hidden files and folders before you did the search, Default is hide.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2015   #3

Windows 7 64-Bit

Yes I did.

To double-check, you mean ALT > Tools > Folder Options, View tab:
"Hide protected operating system files" (uncheck); and
"Show hidden files, folders, and drives" (select)

ext: pfx shows up nothing under windows.old\users\. Thing is, I can't remember if I ever exported the keys in the first place, so I'm uncertain if there are even .pfx files to search for.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Sep 2015   #4

W7 home premium 32bit/W7HP 64bit/w10 tp insider ring

Thats correct, sorry couldn't be more helpfull way outta my league.
On a side note had so many different passwords/keys, decided to put em on a stick.


just found this

Attached Thumbnails
Recover EFS certificate from windows.old or .vhd?-keys.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Recover EFS certificate from windows.old or .vhd?

Thread Tools

Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Certificate error on websites with "Lets Encrypt" certificate
I get a certificate error on every site that has a Let's Encrypt certificate. It happens in IE11, Chrome and Safari, so I'm assuming it's a Windows issue. I can still ignore the warning and proceed to the site, but it's very annoying as loads of sites use Let's Encrypt. Thanks for any...
Browsers & Mail
Windows update site security certificate
Hi everyone Im having some difficulty with a laptop. It won't update because of error 80072EE2 If I use IE8 and try to go to the windows update site it tells me there is a problem with the security certificate. I'm guessing this is my problem?
Windows Updates & Activation
Difference between recover partitions or recover files and folders.
Hi all, a while ago I had the idea to start from scratch to clean up the system and gain more performance. But I have not done yet because I have some doubts. On the PC I have Acronis True Image Home 2011 --> In the part where it says My backups I see the image that I have saved. --> When...
Backup and Restore
Lost my Windows 7 Product Key, but have Certificate of Authenticity
I reinstalled Windows 7 earlier today with the backup disc I received from Digital River, part of a student discount deal in 2009. However, the product key (I know, stupid of me not to write it down) and the confirmation e-mail are now long gone. I've tried calling Microsoft directly but they...
Windows Updates & Activation

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:10.
Twitter Facebook Google+