Thursday, November 24, 2005

Using the Encrypting File System (Part II)

In the previous article, I talked about encrypting a file with the Windows Explorer (AKA 'My Computer'). An alternative method is to use the CIPHER.EXE command line utility. This utility allows you to encrypt, decrypt and view the status of the files or folders.

You can use the following switches listed below to control the features of the CIPHER.EXE command:
  • /E: Encrypts specific folders.
  • /D: Removes encryption from a folder.
  • /A: Performs the operation on all sub-folders
For example:
Encrypts a folder:
cipher.exe /e /s:"C:\Secure Files"
Decrypts a folder:
cipher.exe /d /s:"C:\Secure Files"

Bonus Tip: Erasing Free Space
By using the /W: switch with the command, you can wipe all data from the unused portions of your hard drive. This feature prevents sensitive data that was deleted from being recovered.

Note: CIPHER.EXE cannot encrypt files that are marked as read-only, system, or compressed.

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