For many versions, Windows has included an advanced security feature called Encrypting File System (EFS). It allows the user to store files and folders encrypted, so they will be protected from unwanted access. Other user accounts cannot access it, neither can anyone from the network or by booting into another OS and accessing that folder. This is the strongest protection which is available in Windows to protect individual files and folders without encrypting the whole drive. But Microsoft has kept this useful feature pretty well hidden and only in business editions of Windows. It is possible to add Encrypt and Decrypt commands to the right click menu (context menu) in File Explorer to using EFS becomes easier.
By default, to enable EFS for a file or a folder, you need to open its Properties, click the Advanced button on the General tab, and finally tick the option "Encrypt contents to secure data".
It is possible to speed up this process by enabling "Encrypt" and "Decrypt" context menu commands. This can be done with a simple Registry tweak. If you prefer to avoid Registry editing, here are ready-to-use Registry files:
Unpack the ZIP archive you downloaded and double click the file named "add-encrypt-decrypt-commands.reg". The changes will be applied instantly. The undo tweak is included.
To add encrypt and decrypt context menu commands in Windows 10, do the following.
- Open Registry Editor.
- Go to the following Registry path:
- Create a new 32-bit DWORD value here named EncryptionContextMenu and set its value data to 1. If you are running 64-bit Windows 10, you still need to create a 32-bit DWORD value. See this screenshot:
The result will be as follows:
No restart or sign out is required. Now an Encrypt verb will become available for files and folders. When you select any file or folder, right click it and choose Encrypt, they will be encrypted and the verb will turn to Decrypt the next time you right click an encrypted file.
This trick also works in Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Note that in some editions like Windows Vista Starter/Home Basic/Home Premium/Windows 7 Starter, the EFS feature is not available. It is usually only included in the Pro and Enterprise editions. If you are running some older Windows version which does not support EFS such as the releases prior to Windows 2000, then this tweak will not have any effect.
That's it. To remove the Encrypt/Decrypt commands from the context menu, you just need to delete the mentioned EncryptionContextMenu parameter.