Files Automatically Encrypted, How to Remove Encryption from Files

Are your files automatically getting encrypted when stored on your Windows 10 computer? This post explains in detail how to remove encryption in Windows 10, 8, or 7. And you can learn how to decrypt a file and change encrypted files to normal files, like unencrypt PDF and Excel. Besides, you can use a professional virus attack data recovery tool to recover ransomware encrypted files.

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Table of Contents

Quick Navigation for Solutions to Remove File Encryption:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Remove Encrypt Contents Right-click encrypted file/folder > "Properties" > "Advanced” > "Encrypt Contents to Secure Data"...Full steps
Remove Encryption from PDF Open encrypted PDF in Adobe Acrobat > "Advanced" > "Security" > "Remove Security"...Full steps
Remove Encryption from Excel Open encrypted Excel > "Review" > "Unprotected Sheet" > Enter password...Full steps
Restore Ransomware Encrypted File Launch EaseUS file recovery software > Scan device > Restore lost files deleted by ransomware...Full steps

How to Decrypt a File

"My files located on the desktop are automatically getting encrypted after moving to any other locations, and the color of the file name changes to green. By clicking the file Property, in the Advanced Settings, the option Encrypt contents to secure data is automatically checked without asking my permission. How to remove encryption in Windows and how to decrypt a file?"

Overview of File Encryption

Windows Encrypting File System (EFS) is one of the basic file/folder encryption technology that enables files to be transparently encrypted to protect confidential data from attackers with physical access to the computer. When files are encrypted in this way, the file name will show green color instead of the normal black text. Except for EFS, Windows comes with another encryption feature, named BitLocker, also can guard important data by encoding logical drives.

Once you enable encryption function for your drives, new or existing files, and folders will be automatically encrypted on the drive with a certificate and private key. If you copy unencrypted files to a folder with encrypted property, they will also be automatically encrypted. This makes it impossible for unauthorized users to access and edit the data.

How to Remove Encrypt Contents to Secure Data  

You can remove file system encryption by unchecking the "Encrypt Contents to Secure Data" feature. Yes, this only works for the file system, not for a specific file. If you want to decrypt files, the certificate or password is indispensable. To recover encrypted files without password, check the topic article.

1. Find the file or folder you wish to encrypt.

2. Right-click the file/folder and click "Properties." Then, click the "Advanced..." button on the General screen.

3. Check the box "Encrypt Contents to Secure Data" under the Compress or Encrypt attributes section, then click the "OK" button.

4. Continuing clicking the "OK" button. An encryption warning box will pop up.

5. Check the "Encrypt the File Only" box to encrypt the individual file, then click "OK" to finish.

How to remove encryption in Windows 10

How to Decrypt a File in Windows 10/8/7

Read this part and see how to decrypt PDF and Excel files. If your encrypted files are lost, you can recover deleted data first, and use the ways below to decode. 

How to Remove Encryption from a PDF File

PDF is one of the most reliable file formats used by the users to present and exchange documents. Nowadays, security is the main concern for all the users, so many users choose to encrypt there PDF documents applying passwords to them. However, when others need to read the PDF, you need to remove the encryption. Follow the following steps to decrypt a PDF file in Adobe Acrobat. And the premise is you must know the password.

1. Open Adobe Acrobat on your computer.

2. Open the protected PDF file and type the password when prompted.

3. Click "Advanced" at the top of the Acrobat window. Select "Security" and then click "Remove Security."

4. Click "OK" to confirm the action and remove the encryption. Then, press "Ctrl+S" to save the unencrypted PDF file.

How to Remove Encryption from Excel

Remove the encryption from Excel worksheet and Excel document is different. Check the way respectively.

Decrypt an Excel Worksheet

1.  Click the "Review" tab on the too bar. Then, choose "Unprotect Sheet". You will be prompted for a password.  

2. Enter the password and click "OK". Now, you have removed the password from an Excel worksheet, and you can start editing.  

how to remove encryption from Excel worksheet

Unencrypt an Excel Document

1. Open the Excel document you want to remove encryption.

2. Click "File" > "Info" > "Protect Workbook." In the drop-down menu, click "Encrypt with Password". The password entry box arises.

3. Delete the password in the box, leaving the box empty. Click "OK" to remove the password from the document. Then, click "Save" before exiting the document.

how to remove encryption from Excel file

How to Remove Encryption from Ransomware Infected Files

In addition to actively encrypting your files, your files can also be encrypted permissively by a ransomware virus. In this case, we suggest that you don't pay the ransom and use a data recovery software to recover the deleted original files by ransomware. In this way, you can remove the encryption.

You need to understand that most of the computer virus encrypts files in three steps, like the screenshot below. First, make an entire copy of all the files; second, delete all original files; third, encrypt the copy. That's why you see encrypted files as soon as your computer were virus-infected.

how virus encrypts files automatically

To recover ransomware encrypted files, you can use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. This powerful file recovery software allows you to recover data from virus attack, accidental deletion, hard drive formatting, partition loss, recycle bin emptying, and more. 

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.4

Step 1. Select the virus infected drive to scan

Run EaseUS virus file recovery software on your Windows PC.

  • If it's an HDD where files were hidden or deleted by virus, it's better to install the software on a different volume or an external USB drive to avoid data overwriting.
  • If the infected device is an external hard drive, flash drive or memory card, it doesn't matter to install the software on the local drive of the computer.

Select the correct drive according to its drive letter and click Scan

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Wait for the scan results

The software will immediately start a scan process to find your lost files on the virus infected hard drive. Do not stop the scanning process until all lost files show up. To quickly locate the wanted files, you can use the Filter feature to display only the pictures, videos, documents, emails, etc.

When the process finishes, you can double-click files to preview their contents.

scan deleted files

Step 3. Select file(s) to recover

Select the files you want and click the Recover. You should save these files to another safe spot on your PC/storage device, not where they were lost.

Restore lost data from drive which was infected by virus

After data recovery, continue taking time to remove the virus with antivirus software to make sure your computer is clean. We highly suggest that you back up your important files regularly to avoid unexpected data loss. You can do it manually or automatically by using a Windows schedule backup software. 

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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