Disable the Encrypting File System in Windows with This Registry Hack

Disable-Encrypting-File-System-(EFS)-in-Windows

Encrypting File System (EFS) was first implemented in Windows 2000 and has existed throughout all the later operating systems. Although it’s a free built-in feature, many have abounded it to adopt third-party alternatives like All File Locker or Boxcryptor for Dropbox. While there are many other solutions, maybe Windows’ isn’t the solution for you.

If this is the case, disabling EFS is very easy. We’ll give you two options below, including using the registry like we did to stop those disturbing balloon tips or completely disabling the running service.

Edit the registry manually to disable EFS

The following outlines the change needed to disable the encrypting file system from the Registry Editor.

Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\EFS

Type: DWORD (32-bit) Value

Value name: EfsConfiguration

Value data: 1=Disable EFS, 0=Enable EFS

Reboot: Yes

Open “regedit” from the start menu and navigate to the appropriate key. Create a new instance if the value doesn’t already exist.

Add-a-new-DWORD-value-in-the-Windows-Registry-Editor

Edit the “EfsConfiguration” value name to reflect the disabled status of “1.”

In most cases, the name is such that figuring out what value to use is simple. For example, EnableBalloonTips is used with a zero value because a zero means no, effectively saying “No, don’t enable balloon tips.” However, use our table above to know which value to use for disabling EFS.

Change-the-EfsConfiguration-value-data-to-1-to-disable-EFS

A reboot is necessary to confirm the changes.

Execute a file to disable EFS

Automate the above task with a registry file that can be quickly merged with the existing registry.

Open a text editor and save the following as a “.reg” file.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\EFS]
“EfsConfiguration”=dword:000001

Run the resulting file and accept the merge and completion prompts to successfully create what we did in the first steps. Download this file at the bottom of the page.

Edit the services.msc to disable EFS

In Windows 7 or 8, access the Start menu and search for “services.msc.” Upon opening, scroll down to find and double-click “Encrypting File System (EFS).” On the “General” tab, under “Startup type,” select the “Disabled” option from the dropdown menu.

Change-the-EFS-service-startup-type-to-disabled-to-stop-EFS-from-running-in-Windows

Other startup types like automatic and manual were available but the former will obviously keep the service running while the latter still holds the possibility of it running in the future. Select “Disabled” to ensure it won’t start back up on a system reboot.

Run this command to disable EFS

Aside from the above two, albeit a bit lengthier solutions, there is one for Windows 7 and 8 that can be run right from the Run dialog box and only takes a moment.

Enter “fsutil behavior set disableencryption 1” to quickly disable EFS.

Quickly-disable-Windows-encryption-from-the-Run-dialog-box

If ran from the command line, the success message is displayed as such:

Quickly-disable-Windows-encryption-from-a-command-prompt

Again, a reboot is required.

Conclusion

Any method you choose will definitely stop the ability of the encryption service to run. See how to use BitLocker to protect your drives if you still want encryption for Windows 8.

Download the registry file.

Safe Download: This registry file is located on the TechNorms Google Drive account.