How To: Back Up Encryption Certificate And Key In Windows Vista
When you first encrypt a file or folder using Encrypting File System (EFS) in Windows Vista, an encryption certificate will be created. The certificate is then tied to an encryption key and together they verify your identity and which files you are able to encrypt and decrypt. It is important to backup your encryption certificate and key in case your existing key or certificate are damaged or lost.Make sure you keep your backed up certificate and keys in a safe place – not on your computer! Use a USB key or CD\DVD to backup your key. If the certificate and keys are lost and you don’t have a backup, you will be unable to decrypt your files.Additionally, if the encrypted files are moved to a new computer, the encrytion key will need to be imported as well or the files will not be accessible.
- Open the Certificate Manager by going to the Windows Vista Start and typing “certmgr.msc” in the search box.
- Browse to Personal, Certificates
- Click the certificate that shows the intended purpose is for EFS
- Right click on the certificate, select All Tasks, Export…
- On the Export window, click Next.
- When asked if you wish to export your private key, select Yes and click Next.
- Make sure Personal Information Exchange is selected and click Next.
- Enter a strong password using numbers, letters and symbols. Click Next.
- Enter a location and file name for the certificate. Make sure the certificate extension ends with “.cer”.
- Click Finish to complete the export.