Beware of NTFS USB Drives and Encrypted Files

Perhaps an edge case for a lot of people out there but perhaps something worth considering if you have formatted your USB stick with NTFS rather than FAT or FAT32 or you use portable hard drives formatted with NTFS.

Some corporations will enforce the use of folder encryption on your computer (rather than whole disk encryption) and when you copy files from these encrypted folders to other NTFS formatted media it will retain its encryption. This will become a problem when you try and read that content on another computer as it won’t have the key with which the information was encrypted, essentially making the file(s) unreadable and useless.

What you must remember to do is decrypt files after copying the across to your NTFS formatted USB stick or portable hard drive such that they can be read on other computers. You can do this in most recent versions of Windows by:

  1. Selecting all of the files(s) and/or folder(s),
  2. Right click on them,
  3. Click on “Properties”
  4. Click the “Advanced” button,
  5. Untick “Encrypt contents to secure data:,
  6. Click “OK” then “OK”.

That should get you off and racing!

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