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Add Encrypt / Decrypt Options to Windows 7 / Vista Right-Click Menu

If you use the built-in file encryption in Windows 7 or Vista, you might be interested in adding an option to the right-click menu to more easily encrypt and decrypt your files, rather than having to use the file properties dialog.

Adding this to the menu couldn’t be simpler – there’s only a single registry key to add.

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search box, and then find the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

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In the right-hand pane, create a new 32-bit DWORD value called EncryptionContextMenu and give it a value of 1.

Now when you right-click on a file, you’ll see a new option called Encrypt.

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When you choose this option, you’ll receive the following dialog, asking if you want to encrypt just the file, or also the parent folder. You can also choose just the file as the default.

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Once the files are encrypted, you’ll notice that the title of the file is now green, indicating that it’s been encrypted. The right-click option will also now change to Decrypt. 

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Definitely much simpler… makes me wonder why this wasn’t a built-in option.

Download AddEncryptionMenu.zip Registry Hack

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/22/07

Comments (29)

  1. Yariv

    Can I do something like that to Hide files?

  2. Butwheaty

    Does this work with XP Pro?

  3. Butwheaty

    Regarding my previous comment … I went ahead and tried it … it does work with XP Pro.

  4. The Geek

    [edit] Good to know it works in XP!

    You can’t use this to hide files.

  5. Yariv

    ok, thanks, but it would be awesome if there was an option to hide files via context menu.

  6. Ray

    This works only Windows Vista Ultimate. Home Premium does not support it.

  7. Ben Shittu

    It’s a shame it doesn’t work with home premium!! Still looks good though!

  8. simonc555@googlemail.com

    dose work with home premium

  9. Austin Pasker

    How do I get it to be able to be selected? Its all grayed out!

  10. Justin

    Thanks a lot and it does work i have home Basic

  11. Ling

    Yeah it show error when i try to encrypt in home premium. It seems really not sopported in home premium

  12. kev

    Whats the point? You can still open any file you encrypt.

  13. .c

    can this be used to decrypt registry keys?

  14. jd2066

    @.c: Registry keys don’t support encryption so nothing could decrypt something not encryted in the first place.
    The data in a registry key could be encrypted though and in that case the encryption type would be up to the program that wrote to the key.
    You would have to list which encrypted values you want to decrypt for me to lookup the program that uses it so I can find how it encrypts things.

  15. .c

    jd2066, thanks for the response. I am looking at “reading” or decoding (not sure the correct term) this path in the registry (if possible): Software\Microsoft\WZCSVC\Parameters\Interfaces.

    I don’t know much about code or what makes up a windows registry, but it looks to be written in binary (probably obvious). is it even possible to “decode” it (particularly the path above)?

    any help would be useful. thanks.

  16. jd2066

    @.c: I looked and that key is not encrypted, it’s just stored in an unique undocumented way.
    That key is meant to only be used by the Wireless Zero Configuration (WZC) Service.
    There are documented APIs to query the WZC service and ask it for things like the Wireless SSIDs it has stored.
    If you want help with using the APIs, post a message on the forums about it and what you want to do.

  17. .c

    thanks. for the help. one more question tho before i go to the forums… does this registry path hold the WEP or WPA keys for any of the corresponding SSIDs?

  18. jd2066

    @.c: I’m not sure if that registry has the passwords are not but the WZC service does have them.
    Also if you want to just manage the passwords not build a program that uses the WZC APIs you use the program at http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/wireless_key.html to do that.

  19. .c

    jd2066, you are awesome! that program is exactly what I need. I know i have my network password stored on my laptop but I have no idea what it is. I was exploring the registry route, but the program you gave me is SPOT ON! thank you. glad i stopped in for help. thanks so much for your time and wisdom!

  20. ayetun

    how can i installed encryp and excryp for window vista

  21. ayetun

    My window don’t have encryption contextmanu. so, what should i do to use encryption and decryption? pls help me

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

  22. Koen

    i fail to see the point if a file is only 2 mouseclicks away from decryption…
    more important question i think is, can i encrypt it on my pc, then send it to someone who can decrypt it again with a sertain key that i can specify…

    or do i need some other form of software for that function?

  23. sensiguard

    Thanks for sharing with us .very informative and interesting …keep posting :D

  24. Marc

    I followed the instructions to add this option to the right-click menu but when I try to encrypt the files I get an error message which reads “Error Applying Attributes”. I have windows Vista.

  25. Sam

    Yeah same thing happened to me. I was really gutted. Wanted to see the greenyness :(

  26. connor29475

    I did this on my windows vista home premium but when i clicked encrypt it said:
    “An error has occurred applying attributes to this file
    This request is not supported”

  27. ENCRYPTING IS CRAP

    Works on windows 7 Pro

  28. Daniel

    it doesent work on premium it only works on pro

  29. Ian

    I want something so that if my computer is stolen, then the files cannot be decrypted. This inbuilt decryption does not seem to do that, and so I cannot see the poi8nt of it?

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