HOW TO: Identify Encrypted Files in Windows XP

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Article ID: 320166 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q320166
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This step-by-step article describes how to identify encrypted files in Microsoft Windows XP.

You can use the Encrypting File System (EFS) in Windows XP for drives that have formatted to use NTFS. EFS provides a way to hide file content from other users. Many users, especially those who use laptops that are vulnerable to unrestricted access or even theft, need to encrypt data files that hold confidential or sensitive data.

You can use either of the following methods to identify encrypted files:
  • Change the color of the file listing for encrypted files.
  • Indicate the encryption status with an E in the Attributes column of the details view.

Change the Color of the File Listing for Encrypted Files

To change the color of the file listing for encrypted files:
  1. Double-click My Computer, and then click Folder Options on the Tools menu.
  2. Click the View tab.
  3. Click to select the Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color check box, and then click OK.

Add the Attributes Column to the Details View

The Folder Options command is available on the Tools menu of system windows, and is also available in Control Panel. To add the Attributes column to the details view of a system window:
  1. When you are viewing files, for example, when you are using Windows Explorer, click Choose Details on the View menu.
  2. Click to select the Attributes check box, and then click OK.


Article ID: 320166 - Last Review: October 26, 2002 - Revision: 1.2
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
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