Very few are aware of the lesser known feature of Encrypted File System(EFS) in Windows. EFS ensures the safety of your files and folders that has been created by you and it is useful when only you want to use these files and folders. It is used to encrypt files and folders using your own Windows account password. It saves each files and folder that are encrypted on your hard drive. Once you have encrypted the desired files or folders even the system administrator cannot decrypt those folders without your Windows account password.
EFS is the built-in file encryption tool in Windows. The files or folders which are encrypted are displayed with a simple lock icon. This is how a user can differentiate between the encrypted and the unencrypted files and folders. So others users can come to know that these files or folders are restricted that is they are encrypted. EFS is the one of the most simple encryption tools provided by Microsoft which provides a quick encryption solution, though it is not as strong as other encryption tools such as BitLocker.
Here are the steps to remove the lock icon on Encrypted files and folders.
For removing the lock icon you have to make changes in the Windows registry, so make sure that you have a backup of the Windows registry so that you can restore it later if you need for when of any mishaps.
1.The lock icon can be replaced by the original blank icon by modifying some changes in the Windows registry.
Click on the Start up menu and click on Run or use the alternative shortcut Windows key + R. Then type regedit and click on enter to open the Windows registry editor. Make sure that you are running this as the administrator. If you are using a standard user account then right click and click on ‘Run as Administrator’.
2. Once the registry editor opens copy this path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerShell Icons
Enter this path in the address bar of the Registry Editor and press Enter.
3.Now you have to generate the Shell Icons key manually. Just right click on the Explorer and click on the ‘New’ option and select the Key option.
4.This will create a blank icon and name that as Shell icons.
Now right click on the Shell Icons as now we need to create a new string value that will point towards the blank icon.
After right clicking on the Shell Icons click on New -> String Value. Now you have to set a value data and click on ok.
In the String Value enter 178 and press enter.
Now double click on the value that is double click on 178. Enter the path to the blank ICO file and click on the ok button.
As seen from the below image here the blank ICO file has been stored in the D drive downloads folder.
5. When editing is done here it is how it looks like,
Just restart the system once and you will not find the lock icon on the encrypted files and folders.
6.In case you need the files or folders to be encrypted again that is to show the lock icon again you just need to right click on the string value “178” and click on Delete and the lock icon will be restored.
I hope you found this useful, leave your comments in the comment box and feel free to share your experience.