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Encrypting File Systems

Windows 2000 includes the ability to encrypt data directly on partitions that are formatted with the NTFS file system. NTFS is the usual file system type for Windows NT and 2000. This feature of the Windows 2000 operating system is known as the Encrypting File System (EFS). Setting an attribute in the object's Properties dialog box can encrypt files and folders. After the data is encrypted, no other user can use it.

Users should employ EFS to protect file information, particularly on laptops, so that a malicious individual cannot read confidential files even if he or she steals the computer. From the Explorer list of files and directories, right-click the folder name and select Properties to see the Properties dialog box, shown in Figure 10.27. Click the Advanced button to see the dialog box shown in Figure 10.28, in which you can set encryption. The default configuration of EFS allows users to start encrypting files with no extra effort; data is automatically encrypted in folders marked for encryption. EFS automatically generates a public-key pair and file encryption certificate for file encryption the first time a user encrypts a file.


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