Managing Data Encryption with EFS

Data encryption is a way to increase data security. Encryption is the process of translating data into code that is not easily accessible. Once data has been encrypted, you must have a key to decrypt the data. Unencrypted data is known as plain text or clear text, and encrypted data is known as cipher text.

The Encrypting File System (EFS) is a technology used by Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional, and Windows Server 2003 to store encrypted files on NTFS partitions. Encrypted files add an extra layer of security to your file system. A user with the proper key can transparently access encrypted files. A user without the proper key is denied access. If the user who encrypted the files is unavailable, you can use the data recovery agent (DRA) to provide the proper key to decrypt folders or files.

In the following sections you will learn about the new EFS features in Windows Server 2003, how to create and manage DRAs, how to recover encrypted files, and how to use the Cipher utility.

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