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Windows Server® 2008 Administrator’s Companion by Charlie Russel and Sharon Crawford

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Enabling File Encryption

With the introduction of Windows 2000, Microsoft added the ability to encrypt individual files or entire subdirectories stored on an NTFS volume in a totally transparent way. To their creator, encrypted files look exactly like regular files—no changes to applications are required to use them. However, to anyone except the creator/encryptor, the files are unavailable. Even if someone did manage to gain access to them, they would be gibberish because they’re stored in encrypted form.

Encryption is simply an advanced attribute of the file, like compression. However, a file cannot be both compressed and encrypted at the same time—the attributes are mutually exclusive. Encrypted files are available only to the encryptor, but ...

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