How to Decrypt a File Without Password/Certificate/Key

Encrypting files with EFS (Encrypting File System), Bitlocker, or other encryption methods can greatly improve data security. But how to decrypt encrypted files without a password, or certificate? Follow the encrypted file recovery tips here to troubleshoot. For ransomware encrypted file recovery, you can use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to help you recover the deleted original files with ease.

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Questions About How to Decrypt A File

Q1: "I recently encrypted some of my files in Windows 10 and kept my encryption key in my Documents folder in C drive. I reinstalled Windows OS the other day, and the encryption key was lost due to formatting. Can I decrypt the file without the certificate?"

Q2: "Unknown viruses encrypted all files and folders on my USB pen drive. I was threatened to pay Bitcoin to recover encrypted files, which I don't want to. I need a way to decrypt encrypted files without a password."

In this article, we will provide a full guide about how to decry a file online without a key. And more, if your files encrypted by ransomware, use the robust data recovery tool and get your files back in a click.

Part 1. How to Decrypt a File Online Without Key/Certificate/Password

You can decrypt a file online without a key if you have the right tool. Advanced Encryption Standard(AES) is a symmetric encryption algorithm. Following is the example of generating an AES encrypted password and decrypt an AES encrypted password. 

decrypt a file online without password

Part 2. How to Decrypt a File Without Password/Key/Certificate Offline

You can decrypt the files system by unchecking the "Encrypt Contents to Secure Data" feature. But this only works for the file system, not your specific file. If you want to decrypt files, the certificate or password is indispensable.

If you haven't exported and backed up the file encryption certificate before or if you have forgotten the password, you cannot decrypt encrypted files in the following situations.

Suppose that you really need to decrypt files, lots of guides will advise you to try the online decryption tools. However, you need to be aware that these tools are not 100% safe. You may be at risk of data theft or source data corruption.

In addition to this case, where users actively use tools to encrypt, there is another unexpected way of files being encrypted, which is by viruses or ransomware. For example, ransomware encrypts and deletes files. In the next part, we will show you how to use a reliable ransomware encrypted file recovery tool to get back data without paying the ransom. 

related articles

Ransomware Data Recovery: How to Recover Ransomware Encrypted Files

Here, we show you three helpful ways to recover files deleted or encrypted by ransomware like Locky, CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, and TorrentLocker, without paying.

virus workflow

Part 3. How to Recover Encrypted Files Locked by Ransomware

Since most ransomware encrypts your files and folders by three steps: make an exact copy of files and folders > encrypt the copy > delete the source files. How this works gives you a great opportunity to recover the encrypted files through professional data recovery software.

Here, we highly recommend you try EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. This virus attack data recovery program enables you to recover files infected by shortcut virus, restore files deleted and encrypted by ransomware like Locky, CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, and TorrentLocker, without paying.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

  • Recover lost or deleted files, documents, photos, audio, music, emails effectively
  • Recover files from SD card, emptied recycle bin, memory card, flash drive, digital camera, and camcorders
  • Support data recovery for sudden deletion, formatting, hard drive corruption, virus attack, system crash under different situations

Now, download this capable data recovery tool and start to recover ransomware encrypted files within three steps. Note that this is just for file recovery of shortcut virus or ransomware, not including those by encryption tools.

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 deep scan 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
Do You Need Specialized Data Recovery Services?
You may need further help for tough data loss situations like reformatting drive, RAW disk, partition loss, repartition failures, and system boot error. Consult with EaseUS Data Recovery Experts for cost-efficient one-on-one manual recovery service. They could offer the following services after FREE diagnosis:
1. Unformat the drive
2. Repair the RAID, RAW disk, or operating system
3. Recover lost partition (the one that cannot be recovered by software)

Part 4. How to Encrypt a File in Windows 10/8/7

Sometimes we tend to protect privacy by using some file encryption tools, such as EFS (Encrypting File System), which provides the core file encryption technology used to store encrypted files on NTFS file system volumes. So only with a certificate can people access the EFS locked files. 

encrypted file recovery

Steps to encrypt a file in Windows 10/8/7

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

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

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

Step 4. Continuing to click the "OK" button. An encryption warning box will pop up.

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

Note: If you copy unencrypted files to a folder with encrypted property, they will be automatically encrypted.

how to encrypted files in Windows 10/8/7

EFS encryption is transparent. If you encrypt some data, you can access this data without any restriction. 

To Sum Up

You can use EFS or Bitlocker to encrypt your files and data. But to avoid losing the password, key, or certificate and not being able to decrypt files, we suggest you back up your encryption certificates and keys to a safe location, and remember your EFS backup password.

For solving the encryption problem caused by ransomware, the most important thing is preventing virus infection. Install and enable the anti-virus software on your computer. Moreover, back up important data and files on your computer regularly. 

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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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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