How to Back Up your EFS Certificate and Key in Windows 10?

To create a back up of your encryption certificate and key gives you multiples of benefits; it helps you avoid permanently losing the access to your encrypted files & folders if in case you lose access to your user account. While the encryption certificate and key are tied to the local user account, and at the time, if you lose access to this account, then these files or folders will automatically become inaccessible. So this is where the backup of your encrypting file system certificate and the key comes in helpful, as by using this backup you can easily access the encrypted file or folders on the system.

Generally, the Encrypting File System (EFS) is the integral encryption tool in Windows which is used to encrypt all the files and folders on NTFS drives to protect them from unwanted access. However, EFS always enables transparent encryption and decryption of files of your user account by using the advanced standard cryptographic algorithms.

Here we will show you how to back up your EFS certificate and key in Windows 10 with the help of a complete stepwise guide.

Steps to Backup your EFS Certificate and Key in Windows 10

Before backing up your encrypting files system certificates and keys in your Windows 10 computer, we suggest you create a restore point and back up of all your files and data if in case something goes wrong.  Here how to do it:

Back Up EFS Certificates and Key in Certificates Manager

  1. Click Windows + R Keys together to open the Run command box.
  2. In the Run command box, type certmgr.msc and click the Enter key to open the Certificate Manager on your system.
  3. Now, click on the Personal option located on the left side of your window panel to expand it.
  4. Then, choose the Certificates
  5. In the right side of the Window panel, right- click on the “find the certificate that lists Encrypting File System under Intended Purpose.”
  6. Then, click on the “All Task” option and choose “Export” option.
  7. On the “Welcome to the Certificate Export Wizard” screen, click on the “Next to Continue option.
  8. After that, choose “Yes, export the private key” box.
  9. Then, click on the Next tab.
  10. Now, tick mark on the “Include all certificates in the certification path if possible” box.
  11. Again, click on the Next tab.
  12. Next, tick marks the “Password” box.
  13. Click to “Set a Password” and click on the Next tab.
  14. Now, click on the “Browse” button and then move to the location where you want to save the EFS Certificates and keys.
  15. Then, enter the chosen “File Name” for your backup.
  16. Click on “Save” button to save all settings.
  17. Once review all the changes you’ve done and then click on the Finish tab.

When the export has successfully finished, then click on the Ok tab to close the dialogue box.

Karen Minton is a Microsoft Office expert and has been working in the technical industry since 2002. As a technical expert, Karen has written technical blogs, manuals, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as

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