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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Jan 2010
    Seattle, WA, USA
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    PC generates hundreds of Registry errors, daily

    LangaList Plus

    PC generates hundreds of Registry errors, daily

    By Fred Langa

    A reader asks what to do about an alarming number of Registry faults, reported by routine PC-cleanup scans.

    Plus: Understanding Windows' system power states, and what the heck could have encrypted a reader's User files without his knowledge? (It wasn't malware!)

    The full text of this column is posted at (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Hinsdale, IL, USA
    Thanked 157 Times in 131 Posts
    EFS File System Encryption can (seemingly) spontaneously turn itself on if it is enabled on Windows 10 or 8.1. I have had this happen on my ASUS Transformer Book t100tam tablet.

    The problem is, if you don't specify otherwise, any fresh install of Windows 10 (at least Pro) will have encryption enabled by default. At least, that's the way the Microsoft Store installed Win 10 Pro on this tablet. It isn't always obvious when logging in for the first time that EFS encryption is enabled for all users of the device.

    So, I was minding my own business in my Standard User Account, not messing with encryption at all, and suddenly, the Account was encrypted. Either this is easy to trigger when adjusting Win 10 settings, or else some seemingly innocuous user action(s) can trigger the encryption to take effect. The unlock password in this case was tied to the User's Microsoft Cloud Account, and by logging in with that Account and Login Style, the User Account was unlocked, but only as long as I kept it as a Microsoft Cloud Account on the tablet.

    I finally found the setting to disable EFS Encryption, and unchecked the default option. Then the account was usable again as a Local Login. I could then have supplied my own password and purposefully encrypted the tablet.

    So while this in my case was a combination of not knowing the default state of this setting, and not being told by the Microsoft Store that they had not disabled it, I still reached one conclusion. The way Windows 10 is set up by all-defaults makes it all too easy to enable Encryption, then change to a Local Account Login Style, and suddenly be locked out of the user account.

    The possible solution if this has indeed happened, is simply log in with the original Microsoft Cloud Account Login Style, and if you as the end-user did nothing to set up your own password, login should proceed normally. Then find the setting to disable EFS Encryption, or else use the Account Recovery process with the MS Account to display or change the EFS Password, and all should return to normal access.

    It is entirely possible for other end-user actions to trigger EFS Encryption in Windows 10. The OS gives little or no warning in the Notifications when this has happened.

    You find out, as I did, either when attempting to make a new system backup, or else when trying to log in as a Local Account, that the user account has become encrypted with EFS. Not in my opinion very smart OS/program design by Microsoft, but I'm guessing they have two reasons to present this default setting. One is to encourage use of MS Account Logins (which allow MS to do more "telemetry"), and the other is to encourage best security practices for mobile devices, which are the majority of the target audience in the Win 10 Home user market.

    Pro is set up the same way possibly for similar reasons. Most business users would probably want to encrypt their devices. But there should be better warnings if the setting is changed, or if changing other settings, such as Login Style, might trigger issues with account access.

    If there really are good warnings, I would like to learn what they look like.
    -- Bob Primak --

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Sep 2014
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    Does the individual with the spontaneous encryption have school age children? I worked with an individual whose 8 year old set up a boot password on dad's tower at home and then couldn't remember what he had set it to.

    Small people emulate their parents with interesting results.
    Last edited by dickcook; 2016-11-16 at 15:30.

  4. #4
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    Austin metro area TX USA
    Thanked 147 Times in 144 Posts
    Who got the 2nd boot - computer or PasswordSetterUpper?
    And, concerning PC FixerUppers, SpeederUppers, SlimmerTrimmers, FasterFaster, utilities -- use with great caution and use sparingly! Either use such as a surgeon would operate with precision knowing exactly what s/he is doing and why -- or -- do not use such utilities at all; such often cause more grief than joy.
    Last edited by RolandJS; 2016-11-16 at 16:39.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    Backup, backup, backup! -- Lady Fitzgerald (w7forums)
    Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)

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