Bulk EFS decryption & encryption

Short story version: use the CIPHER command.

I had a 3-2-1 backup fail on me recently."

21,684 files could not be copied”.

The original files were EFS encrypted.  Here’s a picture of what was going wrong:
Encrypted files do not copy to other PC

In technical terms, the second computer did not have the EFS decryption key.  The easy fix was to remove the EFS encryption via the CIPHER command:

cipher /a /d /s:<directory name>


  • /a is all files, including subdirectories
  • /d is decrypt
  • /s: is the directory name.
    ie. d:\users\wisefaq\downloads

To bulk encrypt, you just need to replace the /d with /e
ie. cipher /a /e /s:<directory name>

Note: the cipher command will fail if the files have the READ-ONLY flag set (ie. remove the flag first)

 Bookmark and Share