Windows 10 comes with two different file encryption options for its users: BitLocker and EFS. Neither of them is available to Windows 10 Home users; what separates them is BitLocker is typically used to encrypt an entire disk while EFS is handier for single files and folders.

BitLocker and EFS encryption can be used at the same time: if you have Windows 10 Pro and know that BitLocker is helping protect your files, you can still add the additional layer of EFS encryption over the top. Doing so results in the files becoming more secure than using just one method. EFS is the notably lighter of the two encryption methods which might have something to do with why it’s the one available on all versions.

Additionally, some users have reported BitLocker locking computers and not allowing the operating systems to boot on them without the codes from their Microsoft accounts. In Microsoft’s defense, those passwords are easily accessible, but the operating systems locking down for now apparent reason is what has left some people displeased with BitLocker for the time being.

You can easily tell whether your computer is encrypted with BitLocker or EFS just by observing the lock icons. You will also see the option to turn “BitLocker” on or off listed in the context menu if you right-click on the encrypted file if it is encrypted with BitLocker. EFS encryption is available for NTFS file systems. When you encrypt a file with EFS in Windows 10, the icon will have a golden lock, indicating that it is locked, and an open folder when it’s not encrypted. You can also customize the EFS icon if you prefer.

The following tutorial demonstrates how to decrypt files

Method One: How to Decrypt File or Folder in Context Menu

You can decrypt files and folders that were originally encrypted with EFS directly from the file or folder’s content menu. Here is how to do that:

Note: If it’s just a singe file that you’re decryting, then just that one file will be decrypted. However, if you’re decrypting a folder, then all subfolders and files within the folder will be decrypted as well.