Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
When Windows file system encrypts a file, it will show as green in Windows Explorer. You need the right permissions to unencrypt it.
Why are some of my files green in color? The operating system is Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2. I'm running Microsoft Excel. The specific text of any error message us, "The file may be read only or is encrypted." Then, it shows this file may be corrupted.
Why are some of my files in green color. I cannot open it. When I see properties; it shows encrypted. When I try and remove the encryption and click "Apply" it shows "An error occurred applying attributes to this file. Access denied."
I never encrypted this. I created passwords to some files and they work fine but the rest of the Excel files I cannot open. I have some very important database in those Excel files. I scanned the system using Malwarebytes and no threats were found. I reinstalled Microsoft Office.
I've checked the certificate is giving the username administrator. I login daily by using that. When I try to use system restore it shows "Restart your computer for system restore" and system restore doesn't work at all. Please help.
In this excerpt from Answercast #4, I'll explain why files turn green in Windows Explorer and look at what to do if that happens.
I'm not surprised that System Restore doesn't work. For various reasons, I'm not a big fan of System Restore. I've got a couple of articles on that. I much prefer to rely on backups; a good backup regimen to take the place of trying to rely on System Restore for anything. When it works, it's nice. But when it doesn't, as you can see, it's not a big help.
The short answer is actually in the error message that you're seeing. "Green" indicates that this is a file whose name is being displayed in the color green inside of Windows Explorer. Green indicates that the file has been encrypted.
Now, this is not encryption by some external program. This isn't like a WinZip kind of encryption or even Excel's own encryption. This is the encryption that's built into the Windows file system, into the Windows NTFS file system.
The correct way to unencrypt the file is pretty much what you tried to do. That is right-click the file and get the properties. Notice that the encryption box has a checkmark in it; uncheck it and click Apply. Unfortunately, in your case, that's not working.
What this means is that the account you are logged in as is not the account that encrypted the file. Now, because you say you didn't do this, I'm not really sure to take you from here.
I would definitely look at other user accounts on that system. Because you are the administrator on that system, you should be able to either set those passwords or login as those accounts and see if one of those other user accounts can decrypt or uncheck the encryption attribute to the file.
But that's it. The file system has encrypted it using credentials for a user account that is not the one you are logged in as. I don't know how this happened. It's very difficult (if not impossible) to accidentally encrypt a file. Typically, people need to take positive action to make that happen, so I can't really say exactly why it happened. That's the direction you need to be looking into.
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