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How to Back up Encryption Certificate and Key in Windows 10

The Encrypting File System (EFS) is the built-in encryption tool in Windows, it can be used to encrypt your file, folders and even drives to help keep your data secure and prevent other user accounts from being able to gain access to it. This is a guide on how to back up encryption certificate and key in Windows 10.

Creating a backup of your file encryption certificate and key can help you avoid permanently losing access to your encrypted files and folders if the original certificate and key are lost or corrupted.

3 methods to back up EFS File Encryption Certificate(s) and Key(s):

Backup Current Encryption Certificate and Key from EFS Notification or Icon

The Encrypt files system feature in Windows locks and encodes your information. After you encrypt files or folders, you will see the EFS notification and icon on the lower right corner of Desktop.

Step 1: Either click on the EFS notification or taskbar icon.

Click EFS notification

Step 2: Click on Back up now. In certificate wizard window, click on Next.

Back up now

Step 3: Set a password.

Then check the Password box, enter a password, enter password again to confirm, and click on Next.

Set a password to protect file

Step 4: Save backup file.

Click on the Browse button, navigate to where you want to save the backup to, enter a file name you want for the backup, click on Save, and click on Next.

Save encryption key backup file

Step 5: Click on Finish. When the export has successfully finished, click on OK.

Finish exporting

How to Backup Encryption Certificate and Key in Certificates Manager

Step 1: Open Certificates Manager.

Press the Win+R keys to open Run dialog, type certmgr.msc, and click OK.

Open Certificates Manager

Step 2: In the left pane of certmgr, expand the Personal store, and open Certificates

Then select all certificates for Encrypting File System, right-click these selected certificates, click on All Tasks and click on Export.

Export EFS certificates

Step 3: To continue, click Next. When it comes to Export Private Key, click Yes, export the private key option.

Export private key

Step 4: Click Next, then check the Password box, set a password. Click Next.

Check password box

Step 5: Save the backup file, then you are done the export process.

How to Backup Encryption Certificate and Key in Command Prompt

Use the option, your EFS certificate can be backed up easily and quickly.

Step 1: Open a Command Prompt.

Press Windows logo + X keys, click Command Prompt from the result menu.

Open a command prompt

Step 2: In the command prompt windows, enter command below, and press Enter.

cipher /x "%UserProfile%\Desktop\MyEFSCertificates"

Enter command

Step 3: Click OK to confirm to back up your encryption key and certificate.

Confirm to back up encryption key

Step 4: Type a password to protect the backup file, and retype the password to confirm.

Set password to protect backup file

Step 5: When your EFS certificate has been backed up successfully. You can see a MyEFSCertificates.PFX file on your desktop. This is the backup of your current file encryption certificate and key.

Current file encryption certificate and key