Ok, we know you are the administrator. You can have everything under your jurisdiction but one thing might flabbergast you: once a user has encrypted something, you cannot see it unless you know his password. “What? Don’t fool me. I still can change his password.” If that is what your brain says, you are mistaken. You may be the tsar of your system but when it comes to encrypted content, NTFS does not allow you to simply change anyone’s password and enjoy a sneak peek at what was intended to be kept segregated from the cruel world. As and when the password of a user is altered, the NTFS encryption keys get changed and all the content encrypted becomes inaccessible. Some imperators do not like someone else secreting secrets in their colonies. They simply like to rule. Although there are more complicated ways to stop users from denying access to their content by encrypting it, we suggest you use a simpler method: a registry hack to disable encryption on the system!
Simply open the registry editor and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlFileSystem and one the right side, change the value of the key ‘NtfsDisableEncryption’ to ‘1’ (once again, without quotes). Reboot and there you have encryption disabled.
But before you really do that, be advised: if you have any encrypted file(s) on the system, they become inaccessible after you have casted the feature away. Although this can prove to be a troublemaker, it is a good way to fool someone that the file has been corrupted. Encrypted files behave as if the access has been denied to them! Different programs will show different error messages. Some might say that the file is corrupted (such as MS Excel); some may blame you for access denial (Notepad) and some might even say that the file does not exist (now tat’s comical)!
Oh, and in case you want to use the files again, just repeat the trick, this time setting the value to ‘0’ and rebooting the system. The files are once again at your hands.
Registry is massive in size. There are a lot of keys and values tat hold information which you, as a registry hacker would like to tweak around with. But how would you know the most important ones or in other words, how would you know which keys store what information? Going through the whole of it trying to change every value in the registry and then look for the effect after a restart isn’t the best way to use your time tweaking the registry!
How about having the registry editor show you a short description of the important keys in the registry? Well, you have something called “Registry Lite” which does exactly what we told you. It’s a registry editor and would happily show you the description of keys as you walk through. Interested already?. You have the setup file! You know the next step already. Once installed, launch the program from start menu and you have a sweet friend guiding you through the ever so complicated registry. It’s also useful in case some virus or spyware locks down the registry editor which ships with Windows. Remember though, you actually don’t have a reason to change what you really do not understand. No matter what tool you bring into play, a small slipup is enough to put you out of the game!