Encrypted Photos on PC any chance they will be accessable on MAC?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Alright this may become very technical so I hope this doesn't become vague as to what happened or how it can be fixed. Freshmen year of college i was using a custom built PC with Win XP. I at this point had about 1000-2000 digital Pictures. I made one of the worst decisions I could make at that point to encrypt these files using the XP encryption option for files. This prevented anyone access who wasn't logged on as the main system Admin from accessing them. My user name was Douglas.

I then moved these files to a second harddrive(still maintaining acess). Next not within a very small timeframe however I formated the hardrive that had my WinXp to do a fresh install, but kept all of my important stuff on the second drive this included my encrptyed pics. After booting up the fresh XP OS i mounted the second hardrive with all the data and instantly realized what i had done. Since i installed the new XP i lost privleges to the files on the second hard drive because i lacked the 128-bit key(i think thats what it was). I tried everything i could to gain access and tried to see if their were any 3rd party programs that would allow me access but to no avail. I contacted Windows support only to be turned away because they could not be sure it was the same user. I had heard from someone having similar but not exactly the same situation and they gained access to their files when moved to a Mac.

So my question is does anyone know of any method to maybe gain access? Legal, illegal anything? Any suggestions (besides the obvious don't do something that stupid again) i haven't beaten myself up over this decision for 3 years! Anyone with any ideas or suggestions let me know! Any methods that may not be well reflected upon by others can PM me. Thanks in advance guys, MacRumors has not let me down before.


macrumors member
Jun 19, 2005
Tempe, AZ
Some third-party "encryption" programs might become accessible when you move them to the Mac (because they were lying to you about encryption in the first place).

However, if you've lost the key that XP stores on that disk, you're pretty much SOL.

Assuming they haven't changed it too much from Win2k, the files are actually accessible using two keys: yours, and a system-master key. Unfortunately, both would have been on the hard disk.

In the future, if you must encrypt, be sure that you can get the key off the machine -- and I mean the full key, any data you would need to decrypt the file. On the Mac, if you decide to encrypt a disk image, the passphrase will serve this purpose. (If you encrypt your home directory using FileVault, I believe you're in the same boat as XP -- but I may get corrected on that.)

Also, ideally, try to use some cross-platform encryption. If Microsoft or Apple decides to change how their encryption works down the road, you don't want to lose access to your files.

I'd keep hammering MS tech support; they may have a secret back door key. They've done this in the past. :)


macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2004
My roomate is in the same boat as you are. He had his files encrypted and then his mobo fried and corrupted windows. There are two morals to this story. 1) Always have a good backup of your stuff and 2) M$ sucks. :D

I dont think that there is a good way to regain access to your files, but keep talking to Microsoft, maybe they will cave.


macrumors 68000
Aug 5, 2005
1) You're screwed
2) If your passwords are the same, it should work (as, iirc, NTEFS uses password hashes for enc/dec)
3) You're screwed
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