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 cipher.exe - Utilities - Vista

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cipher.exe is a part of Windows Vista.

Relate to: Security, File system

Default location: %WinDir%\System32\cipher.exe

Useful information about: cipher.exe

Description: File Encryption Utility

Version: 6.0.6000.16386 (vista_rtm.061101-2205)

Size: 53248 (52K)

MD5: FC5BEF2AA3B69E6DF15653D210CBA67B

Cipher.exe is a command-line tool that you can use to manage encrypted data by using the Encrypting File System (EFS).


CIPHER [/E | /D | /C]

[/S: directory] [/B] [/H] [pathname [...]]


CIPHER /R: filename [/SMARTCARD]


CIPHER /W: directory

CIPHER /X[: efsfile] [filename]



[/S: directory] [/B] [/H] [pathname [...]]


[/S: directory] [/B] [/H] [pathname [...]]

CIPHER /REKEY [pathname [...]]

/B Abort if an error is encountered. By default, CIPHER continues

executing even if errors are encountered.

/C Displays information on the encrypted file.

/D Decrypts the specified files or directories.

/E Encrypts the specified files or directories. Directories will be

marked so that files added afterward will be encrypted. The

encrypted file could become decrypted when it is modified if the

parent directory is not encrypted. It is recommended that you

encrypt the file and the parent directory.

/H Displays files with the hidden or system attributes. These

files are omitted by default.

/K Creates a new certificate and key for use with EFS. If

this option is chosen, all the other options will be ignored.

/N This option only works with /U. This will prevent keys being

updated. This is used to find all the encrypted files on the

local drives.

/R Generates an EFS recovery agent key and certificate, then writes

them to a .PFX file (containing certificate and private key) and

a .CER file (containing only the certificate). An administrator

may add the contents of the .CER to the EFS recovery policy to

create the recovery agent for users, and import the .PFX to

recover individual files. If SMARTCARD is specified, then writes

the recovery key and certificate to a smart card. A .CER file is

generated (containing only the certificate). No .PFX file is


/S Performs the specified operation on directories in the given

directory and all subdirectories.

/U Tries to touch all the encrypted files on local drives. This will

update user's file encryption key or recovery agent's key to the

current ones if they are changed. This option does not work with

other options except /N.

/W Removes data from available unused disk space on the entire

volume. If this option is chosen, all other options are ignored.

The directory specified can be anywhere in a local volume. If it

is a mount point or points to a directory in another volume, the

data on that volume will be removed.

/X Backup EFS certificate and keys into file filename. If efsfile is

provided, the current user's certificate(s) used to encrypt the

file will be backed up. Otherwise, the user's current EFS

certificate and keys will be backed up.

/Y Displays your current EFS certificate thumbnail on the local PC.

/ADDUSER Adds a user to the specified encrypted file(s). If CERTHASH is

provided, cipher will search for a certificate with this SHA1

hash. If CERTFILE is provided, cipher will extract the

certificate from the file.

/REKEY Updates the specified encrypted file(s) to use the configured

EFS current key.

/REMOVEUSER Removes a user from the specified file(s). CERTHASH

must be the SHA1 hash of the certificate to remove.

directory A directory path.

filename A filename without extensions.

pathname Specifies a pattern, file or directory.

efsfile An encrypted file path.

Used without parameters, CIPHER displays the encryption state of

the current directory and any files it contains. You may use multiple

directory names and wildcards. You must put spaces between multiple


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