Encrypted files on External HD, host machine formatted but recoverable

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Here is the lowdown, we have an external HD, and we backed up all the data needed too it. What i wasnt told was that the backup was being encrypted as it was being saved to the HD. So the pc was given to me to format and reinstall windows on. I did and now we get an access denied error when we try to access the data that is on the external HD. I have recovered the whole docs&settings folder using a format recovery tool, and copied the user profile that was used to create the encrypted data over the top of the same named user profile on my own PC and still get the error. This is extremly HOT, I need any advice I can get... What are all the files I need to be able to access this data?

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if the files were encrypted using software you purchased you should just be able to reinstall the software and keys to access the data. i need more info to give a more detailed answer

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  • Netsecadmin
    If you do not have the decryption keys, I would say you are out of luck. What was the data encrypted with? Software X? MS EFS? Any known data recovery keys defined?.... If it was properly done, you will not decrypt data if you do not have defined recovery methods and keys. If you can decrypt without these, throw away the encryption software once data is recovered. BB
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  • Trelleborg
    The encryption was done with win xp pro's built in encrypton option. We are in an active directory system, but it seems we have no recovery agent in our sub domain.
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  • Lirria
    It's been awhile - but if I recall correctly the encryption key is based on the password of the account creating it - unfortunately, once you change the password that key is lost (unless you are logged in as them) I think Elcomsoft Advanced EFS Data Recovery might be able to help - not sure - I have had no experience with it, but it seems to indicate that it can recover (decrypt) files. Good luck!! Lirria
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  • Boardinhank
    Strait from microsoft to you this is according to their EFS. How files are encrypted Files are encrypted through the use of algorithms that essentially rearrange, scramble, and encode the data. A key pair is randomly generated when you encrypt your first file. This key pair is made up of a private and a public key. The key pair is used to encode and decode the encrypted files. If the key pair is lost or damaged and you have not designated a recovery agent, and then there is no way to recover the data. Might have to chalk it up to a learning experience. Before working with EFS or any other encryption it is best to document, designate and then implement.
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  • Trelleborg
    I have recovered the certificate with the correct Thumbprint, what else do I need? What other files do I need where are they located ect...? I anyone can give me details instructions on this of maybe a link to instructions I would be greatful...
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