Need to Turn Off EFS on a Windows 2000-Based Computer in Windows NT 4.0-Based Domain

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Article ID: 288579 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q288579
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry
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You may have to turn off the Encrypting File System (EFS) on the computer. For example, when a computer that is running Windows 2000 Professional is a member of a Microsoft Windows NT 4.0-based domain, you may have to turn off the EFS on the computer because the domain administrator cannot recover encrypted files. A Windows NT 4.0-based domain has no way to specify the use of the Domain Encrypted Data Recovery Agent.


A supported fix is now available from Microsoft, but it is only intended to correct the problem that is described in this article. Apply it only to computers that are experiencing this specific problem. This fix may receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, Microsoft recommends that you wait for the next service pack that contains this hotfix.

To resolve this problem immediately, contact Microsoft Product Support Services to obtain the fix. For a complete list of Microsoft Product Support Services phone numbers and information about support costs, visit the following Microsoft Web site:;EN-US;CNTACTMS
NOTE: In special cases, charges that are ordinarily incurred for support calls may be canceled if a Microsoft Support Professional determines that a specific update will resolve your problem. The typical support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for the specific update in question.

To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Windows 2000. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
311512 Problems Reading Schema Information from Third-Party LDAP Servers If You Are Using ADSI
WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.
After you install Windows 2000 SP3 or the hotfix described in Microsoft Knowledge Base Article Q311512, you must manually add the following registry key.

To turn off EFS, follow these steps:
  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
  2. Locate and then click the EfsConfiguration value under the following key in the registry:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\EFS
  3. On the Edit menu, click new, click DWORD Value, and then type EfsConfiguration.
  4. Double-click EfsConfiguration value and>, change the value to 1, and then click OK.

    A zero (0) turns on EFS, and a one (1) turns off EFS.
  5. Quit Registry Editor, and then restart the computer.
NOTE: If you try to encrypt a file after you install the hotfix to turn off EFS, you receive the following error message:
An error occurred applying attributes to the file: <X:\filename>. The required encryption driver is not loaded for this system.
If you apply this hotfix to a stand-alone computer, and the computer is added later to a domain, EFS remains turned off even if the domain has an Encrypted Data Recovery Agent specified.

If you turn off EFS by using this hotfix and the associated change in the registry, you cannot change the EFS setting by using Group Policy on the domain.

Users cannot copy or decrypt any files that were encrypted before you turned off EFS by using the registry key. If you try to access the files, you may receive the following error message:
Access is denied. The source file may be in use


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article. This problem was first corrected in Windows 2000 Service Pack 3.


For additional information about how to install Windows 2000 and Windows 2000 hotfixes at the same time, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
249149 Installing Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows 2000 Hotfixes
For additional information about how to obtain a hotfix for Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
265173 The Datacenter Program and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server Product
For additional information about how to install multiple hotfixes with only one reboot, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
296861 Use QChain.exe to Install Multiple Hotfixes with Only One Reboot


Article ID: 288579 - Last Review: February 28, 2014 - Revision: 3.7
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional SP1
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional SP2
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbbug kbfix kbsecurity kbwin2000presp3fix kbwin2000sp3fix KB288579

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