Recover an encrypted file or folder if you are a designated recovery agent

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

To recover an encrypted file or folder if you are a designated recovery agent

  1. Use Backup or another backup tool to restore a user's backup version of the encrypted file or folder to the computer where your file recovery certificate and recovery key are located.

  2. Open Windows Explorer.

  3. Right-click the file or folder and then click Properties.

  4. On the General tab, click Advanced.

  5. Clear the Encrypt contents to secure data check box.

  6. Make a backup version of the decrypted file or folder and return the backup version to the user.


  • To open Windows Explorer, click Start, point to All programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer.

  • You can return the backup version of the decrypted file or folder to the user as an e-mail attachment, on a floppy disk, or on a network share.

  • An alternate procedure would involve physically transporting the recovery agent's private key and certificate, importing the private key and certificate, decrypting the file or folder, and then deleting the imported private key and certificate. This procedure exposes the private key more than the procedure above but does not require any backup or restore operations or file transportation.

  • If you are the recovery agent, use the Export command from Certificates in Microsoft Management Console (MMC) to export the file recovery certificate and private key to a floppy disk. Keep the floppy disk in a secure location. Then, if the file recovery certificate or private key on your computer is ever damaged or deleted, you can use the Import command from Certificates in MMC to replace the damaged or deleted certificate and private key with the ones you have backed up on the floppy disk.

  • For more information about using Certificates in MMC, see Related Topics.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

See Also


Recovering data
Recover an encrypted file or folder without your file encryption certificate
Add a recovery agent for the local computer