How to recover lost data from encrypted ntfs partition after system format or administrator password forgot situation in vista and xp.

September 30, 200736 Comments
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If you ever had a situation when you are unable to access a particular folder on a ntfs drive like your my documents folder on a ntfs drive after format become unaccessible due to the security structure of the ntfs(New Technology File System) file system.

Let us assume a situation when you have installed windows xp or vista on other drive on your system and you want to access your my documents ,my pictures and some other files your user folder but not able to access may be because you have made your user profile folder and documents as private or some other reason that you are not aware of.

But don’t need to worry as there exist a very simple solution to this problem.

Note: The only thing you need is to login with some administrator equivalent privileges account on the same operating system or any on any other operating system.

Now follow the step by step procedure illustrated below to recover your documents and files.

1. Firstly login with administrator equivalent either on the same operating system or on the new operating system installed on the other drive.

2. Right click on the drive on which the folder resides which you want to recover on the ntfs drive and go to properties.

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3. Click on the tools tab>>Backup now ,a wizard will get started which you can customize to select the folder which you want to back up.

So by following the procedure above you will be able to create a backup file which you can restore as the files you want on any other drive.

Now the Funda or The Main Logic Behind this method

In case of windows either with windows xp or windows vista there are some default user groups which are on different levels according to the respective privileges.

One of these groups is the Power Users Group and all the administrator’s of the operating system are a part of the power users by default so any administrator of the operating system which is not able to access those ntfs protected data but can take the customized back up and then after restore the back to obtain the files on some other location or drive.

If you have any problem in recovering your data leave a comment here at the end of the article.

Filed in: tips & tricks

About the Author ()

Author + Admin: Abhishek Bhatnagar - Professional blogger by passion, Software Enggineer. I love to write about useful computer tips & tricks. Connect with me at twitter or on google+ profile or mail me at abhishek@technixmedia.com or know me more on www.abhishekbhatnagar.com

Comments (36)

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  1. Ashfame says:

    Nice trick. Isn’t it a flaw that private folders can be accessed by taking a backup and then restoring it somewhere else? Anyways, Stumbled!!

  2. admin says:

    Well this is not a flaw as according the system policies power users can take backup of any media…but yes there is some negative aspect to it also.

  3. kozzmen says:

    Thanks for this tip. I have the same problem in home – i have uninstall my XP and install it again. Now I don’t have an access to part of my HDD, where are located all my pictures, personal data , etc. I will try this when I got home tonight, I hope it will help :] Thanks in advance!

  4. gabriel says:

    it didn`t work with me. I have fomrmated my hard disk but I had some encrpyted files on another one(both NTFS). Since I`ve got my new system, I cannot access AT ALL them. I’ve tried this back-up thing as well as som other programs. I tried to chance the folder’s owner but it didn’t work out either. Does any one has an idea on how to break that? Or how to restore the key… is it a file I can try to recover with those programs that rebuild formated files??? The files are very important to me! Thank you

  5. kozzmen says:

    @gabriel – I got the same problem and still don’t have a salution… Hope we’ll find one working… I’ll keep posting here If I find it.

  6. gabriel says:

    ok. i’m looking foward to getting an answer from you soon

  7. ledi says:

    Hi. I’ve a Pc which was with 1 partition and was installed Win Xp. This was formatted and installed Win Vista and has been created 2 partition in NTFS. i WANT TO RECOVER THE DATA BEFORE THIS FORMAT, SO THE DATA THAT WERE STORED IN WINDWOWS XP WHEN THE HDD WAS IN 1 PARTITION.i’m trying with getdataback for NTFS but it’s seem that this hdd doesn’t have any preiuous data when he was in XP operating system.Please help me

  8. Arshad says:

    I have a lotus notes file that is encrypted by windows (file name is in green). I have forgotten the password by which I have encrypted it. Now I want to access this file and is says access is denied. It is not allowing me to remove encryption also. Please help.

  9. Praveen Sharma says:

    I have some encrypted excel files on pc which is create in xp.Due to system crash i have format my pc. now i cannot access these encrypted file as error com access is denied even the user is administrator.How i can access these files.

  10. muthu says:

    I have some encrypted IMPORTANT files on pc which is create in xp.Due to system crash i have format my pc. now i cannot access these encrypted file as error com access is denied even the user is administrator.How i can access these files

  11. SANTOSH SARKALE says:

    HI, I have the same problem in home – i have uninstall my XP and install it again. Now I don’t have an access to part of my HDD, where are located all my pictures, personal data , etc. I will try this when I got home tonight, I hope it will help THANKS

  12. SANTOSH SARKALE says:

    Hi. I’ve a Pc which was with 1 partition and was installed Win Xp. This was formatted and installed Win Vista and has been created 2 partition in NTFS. i WANT TO RECOVER THE DATA BEFORE THIS FORMAT, SO THE DATA THAT WERE STORED IN WINDWOWS XP WHEN THE HDD WAS IN 1 PARTITION.i’m trying with getdataback for NTFS but it’s seem that this hdd doesn’t have any preiuous data when he was in XP operating system.Please help me thank you

  13. walid says:

    I have some encrypted IMPORTANT files (Excel & Word) on pc which is create in xp.Due to system crash i have format my pc. now i cannot access these encrypted file as error com access is denied even the user is administrator.How i can access these files

  14. Dominic says:

    I have some encrypted files on my system. Due to a virus attack or you can say a system crash i had to format my system . Now i cannot access these encrypted file as error and says “Access is denied”. How i can access these files. Please can anyone help…..

  15. CB says:

    I tried it out, but i could not access the files, who still were encrypted :( I lost access to all the encrypted files after an update crash from microsofts own website :S What i really should have done, is suing the ass off those fuckers who fucked everything up in the first place, but i cant afford lawyers like they do. So please give me some advice :)

  16. abhishek says:

    @CB – You can’t recover encrypted files using this method.

  17. Mehran says:

    Hi , Dear friends , My computer didn`t work with me. I have fomrmated my hard disk but I had very encrpyted files on another one (drive c:) (both NTFS). Since I`ve got my new system and installing windows xp , I cannot access at all them. I’ve tried decrypte my files . I tried to chance the folder’s owner but it didn’t work out either. Does any one has an idea on how to break that or Decrypte them ? Or how to restore the key… is it a file or way I can try to recover with those programs that rebuild or change atrribute files ? The files are very very important for me! Thank you Best regards I hope you help me , How i can access these files ?

  18. deiny says:

    the solution is to forget your files.. this is the weakest point of microsoft … No solution !!

  19. khaled says:

    ok here’s what I have. I had a drive with windows 2000 on it, I formated it and installed windows vista. but I need to retreive data from that drive (located on the drive itself and not in “My Documents”). so I added it to another machine as external and tried your trick, but i did not find what I need. any suggestions?! thanks

  20. Colzie says:

    This does not work..all it does is copy the files still in their encrypted state to a different drive or folder. I have had a system crash and cannot access some of my back up files from an external HDD due to the encrypted folders not recognizing the newly formatted OS…. Does anyone have an answer to this conundrum.. Colzie

  21. Krishna says:

    hi, my xp os was corrupted and so i have installed it again…now i could find only c: drive present…….. it seems that my system is completely new without any information…. i want to retrieve those data i had in d: and e: since i cant gather those info and pictures again…. can anyone please help in this regard… please…….

  22. Kalpesh Sharma says:

    Hello, I am security expert with a lot of experience and achievements and as far as my case concerns I know that there is no solution and dno chance of recovery in such situation though I want to try if someone may have better knowledge then what I understand. May be possible someone can help me out somewhere. The case is as follows: I had encrypted my hard disk using truecrypt. My hard disk had two partitions. On c partition there was operating system. On d partition I used to keep backup of important files. As the whole disk was encrypted using truecrypt, so it’s natural that both partitions are encrypted. The truecrypt partition on which the installation was done is c partition. The mistake that I did was that without dycrypting the whole disk, I formatted the ‘c’ partition to reinstall my operating system. I did not touch the ‘d’ partition at all. But as the boot files and system files for the truecrypt software were residing on ‘c’ partition, the ‘d’ partition became a raw partition , which means that now there is zero data. When I click on that partition it asks me to format. So, this is the whole case. I tried many recovery softwares. But not even a single file could be recovered. Tell me if you have any solution to such encrypted drive recovery of data. But anyway I am happy that today I learned that even a forensic science department professional can also cannot retrieve data from any encypted disk. This is practical accident that happened and which proves as far as my knowledge concerns. So, if there is any confidential data which you want to never never be recovered by any kind of software anytime, then use this method which happened accidentally in my case. Thanking you, Sincerely Kalpesh Sharma

  23. Randy Peebles says:

    I think I might have a hint towards resolving this problem but I would like to interact with a good software developer/engineer with whom I would like to interact with so we might together find a solution from these findings I have got. This is based on what I have noticed and any good development towards this will give us all a 50-50 chance or better that a solution may indeed be possible for everyone in this regards. If there is any here who is good at OS kernel level app development or you know someone that is please feel free to contact me via mail: randi_peebles@yahoo.com

  24. Henny says:

    Hello Randy Please let me know if you do find a way to resolve this issue. i did the same thing sharma did, but with pgp encryption suite. Their technical support have not been able to give me a solution and i have years of research data on the drive. i was initially thinking that, what if one format the drive and then use data recovery software to try and recover files on it?, anyway this is just a thought, am still leaving the partition as raw for now……….hoping for a solution.

  25. satyam says:

    hello,i encrypted my files and folders and saved a “.pfx” file(guess a private key)..i saved it b’coz the forums told me so but after formatting my c drive i’ve the same problem..i couldn’t open my files and softwares….pls someone help me on this i have my loads of work in vain!!

  26. Amit says:

    Nothing Is Impossible

  27. Ian says:

    How to recover enrypted folder using another program like kakasoft folder protection and other similar software? any clues?

  28. Immortality says:

    Hello. I’m also confronting myself with a problem and i can’t find a solution for it. One of my ex formatted both my hdds (I don’t know which method did he use). Anyway,I was able to recover my word documents with Easeus after all other programs failed but even if i can opened them fine,they are encrypted (or so is my guess).I didn’t encrypt them and even though I have used EFS Data Recovery I still couldn’t retrieve the password.It says it can’t find any.The docs were created under XP,but now I have Windows 7.As for version of Office,I used XP,and i also have Office XP on my current windows 7 version. If anyone knows a solution,please tell me. Best regards, ~Immo

  29. premshankar says:

    Dear all, I have formatted a PC without taking the certificate of the encryption.. Now when i try to access the encrypted file i cannot do so.. I have the pfx file of the PC which is created while the PC was in previous OS.. Now while installing the pfx it is asking for a password and It hangs there.. Please help me to sort out this.. Thanks in Advance.. PreMS

  30. KHAIRI says:

    if you kakasoft folder protection is crash and dissappear,download the same kakasoft folder protection one more time and put it at the same place where you put your previous kakasoft folder protection,then open the kakasoft folder protection and select unprotect.I just discover this method by today after my kakasoft folder protection is disappear from my external hard disk and it works.

  31. God hates all says:

    I was running windows 7 ultimate. out of three drives,except for sytem drive , i encrypted other drive by bitlocker,.. but after 2 weeks i thought to decrypt that drive.,while long decryption process was goin , i shutted it down due to some reason.after login again paused decryption continued. Now i have no operating system in any of the drive.how to decrypt that drive?

  32. abhishek says:

    @God hates all – shutting down your system at that time might have caused some issue – but still you can try repairing the main system drive where your os was installed – it should work in your case

  33. raj31986 says:

    i format my pc first i had c drive of 200 gb total size of my hd is 1 tb i format my pc and make c drive of 30 gb but i lost a dat of around 200 gb while ormatiing plz help me out

  34. jsan says:

    my operating system is windows7. i ve i folder of snaps which is encrypted. nw i want to decrypt it. but its giving me an error telling you will need to provide administrator permissions to change these attributes. can you plz help me to decrypt it.

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