The “Encrypt contents to secure data” feature in Windows is a file and folder encryption feature that allows users to protect their sensitive data by encrypting it. When a user enables this feature for a file or folder, the data within that file or folder is scrambled and unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the appropriate encryption key.
The encryption process is done using the Windows Encrypting File System (EFS) feature, which uses a combination of symmetric and asymmetric encryption algorithms to protect the data. This feature is available on Windows 10 and other versions of Windows that support EFS.
Encrypting files and folders using this feature is a useful security measure for protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access, such as if a device is lost or stolen or if someone gains access to the computer. It’s important to note that while encryption can provide a high level of security, it’s not foolproof, and other security measures should also be taken to protect sensitive data, such as using strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.
The “Encrypt contents to secure data” option may sometimes appear greyed out or unavailable in Windows 10. This means that the user is not able to use this feature to encrypt their files or folders.
What causes the Encrypt contents to secure data greyed out?
There can be several reasons why the “Encrypt contents to secure data” greyed out on Windows 10. Some of the common reasons include:
- The file or folder is located on a drive that does not support encryption, such as a FAT32 file system.
- The file or folder is compressed or shared, which can prevent encryption.
- The user does not have the necessary permissions to encrypt the file or folder.
- The user is trying to encrypt a system file or folder, which cannot be encrypted.
- The Encrypting File System (EFS) feature may be disabled on the computer.
These are the possible reasons why you are having the issue and now we will fix the issue of the “Encrypt contents to secure data” option being greyed out in Windows 10. These solutions include changing the file attributes, converting the file system to NTFS, enabling EFS in the Group Policy Editor, and using the Command Prompt to encrypt files.
How to fix “Encrypt Contents to Secure Data” Greyed Out in Windows 10?
Use these methods to fix “Encrypt Contents to Secure Data” greyed out in Windows 10.
Method 1: Check File Attributes
The first method will be to check the file attributes. Checking file attributes involves verifying if the “Encrypt contents to secure data” checkbox is checked in the file or folder properties or not.
- Right-click on the file or folder you want to encrypt and select Properties.
- In the General tab, click on Advanced.
- In the Advanced Attributes window, make sure the Encrypt contents to secure data checkbox are checked. If it’s not checked, check it and click OK.
- Click Apply and then OK to close the Properties window.
Method 2: Convert File System to NTFS
Converting the file system to NTFS is a method to fix the issue, when the file system of the drive where the file or folder is located is FAT32. NTFS is a file system that supports file encryption, while FAT32 does not.
- Open File Explorer and navigate to the drive where the file or folder you want to encrypt is located.
- Right-click on the drive and select Properties.
- In the General tab, check the File system field. If it says FAT32, you’ll need to convert it to NTFS to use the “Encrypt contents to secure data” feature.
- To convert the file system to NTFS, open the Command Prompt as an administrator and enter the command: “convert DRIVELETTER: /FS:NTFS” (replace “DRIVELETTER” with the letter of the drive you want to convert).
- Press Enter and wait for the conversion process to complete.
This method is effective, but it may take some time to complete the conversion process, depending on the size of the drive.
Method 3: Enable EFS in the Group Policy Editor
Enabling EFS (Encrypting File System) in the Group Policy Editor is another method to fix the issue. EFS is a feature in Windows that allows users to encrypt their files and folders. To enable EFS in the Group Policy Editor:
- Press Win+R to open the Run dialog box, type “gpedit.msc” in the search box and hit Enter.
- In the Group Policy Editor, navigate to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Public Key Policies.
- Double-click on Encrypting File System to open its properties.
- Check the Allow users to encrypt files using Encrypting File System (EFS) checkbox and click OK.
- Close the Group Policy Editor and try to encrypt the file or folder again.
After enabling EFS, you should be able to use the “Encrypt contents to secure data” option to encrypt your files and folders. However, this method may not work if your Windows 10 edition does not support EFS or if EFS has been disabled by the system administrator.
Method 4: Use Command Prompt to Encrypt Files
And the last method to fix the “Encrypt Contents to Secure Data” greyed out in Windows 10 is to use CMD to encrypt the files again.
- Open the Command Prompt as an administrator.
- Navigate to the directory where the file or folder you want to encrypt is located.
- Type the command “cipher /E filename” (replace “filename” with the name of the file or folder you want to encrypt) and press Enter.
- Wait for the encryption process to complete.
This process is a little bit boring as you will encrypt each file manually. And as a result, will take more time and work.
Yet by following these methods, you should be able to fix the issue of the “Encrypt contents to secure data” option greyed out in Windows 10 and encrypt your sensitive files and folders successfully.