corrupted profile/unable to acces encrypted files

By bpederson ·
I am running xp and the my main profile is corrupt will not let me log into it. is there any way to fix this or is there any way to be able to access an encrypted file under this profile. I have tried creating another admin account and tried changing the security on the file it but still cant access this file.( i used xp encryption on it)

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OK a couple of things to do

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to corrupted profile/unable ...

First you need to save a copy of the Private Encryption Key by following the directions here

Once you have the Private Encryption Key saved and mounted to your new account all that should be necessary is to Take Ownership Of the Files by following the directions here

Provided that you haven't attempted to repair your original User Account your Private Encryption Key should still be available but if you have attempted a Repair of this Account you will have destroyed that key and will need to somehow crack the encryption method used by Windows.

M$'s best advice is to find a Good Hacker but really any data recovery House can recover your data though it's not going to be cheap but it's possible and you'll need to talk to your chosen Data Recovery House and make sure that they are capable of cracking the Encryption System and you'll also need to supply them with exactly what is asked for so this is something that you really need to talk about.

If you have done the right thing and backed up all your data unencrypted all you need do is delete the corrupt account and restore from your backup which will be much faster and if you haven't done this already it is something that you should be doing from now on to prevent any possibility of Data Loss or expensive Data Recovery being required when things break.


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i'll try that

by bpederson In reply to OK a couple of things to ...

thanks for the advice I will give that a try tonight

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What if Cannot Login to Old WinXP Installation?

by Temujin1978 In reply to OK a couple of things to ...

Hi Col,

I realize I am responding to a post that is 2 years old, but I thought I'd give it a shot anyway. Thanks for your help in advance, or anyone else who can help!

I have the exact problem addressed above:

1. I have 2 hard drives with Win XP.
2. One of the WinXP installations is corrupted and I cannot boot into that HD directly. So the 2nd HD has a working WinXP installation and I use it to access files in the old HD.
3. However, you guessed it, some files in the old HD were encrypted and I cannot access them.
4. I still have access to ALL files on the old HD, including the WinXP system files, so I assume the encryption keys are buried in there somewhere.

My question is, your link above on what to do to save a copy of the Private Encryption Key assumes that I can still log on to the old WinXP installation and Export the key. However, I cannot log in to the old WinXP installation.

Is there a way I can get/import the Private Encryption Key from the old HD, without having to boot into it?

Thanks for your help.

P.S. I found the keys under:

1) C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Microsoft\SystemCertificates\My\Certificates\

2) C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Microsoft\Crypto\RSA

...but the question now is, what can I do with them, to access the encrypted files? And suggestions/help is much appreciated!

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