Backing up a partition with Windows encryption enabled

A customer wanted to backup the system partition and received a total of 10788 error messages „Access to the file is blocked during backup. Check the security settings.“ received, including for files in the following folder:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Crypto\RSA\MachineKeys

What did the customer do wrong? Two things.

The computer has Windows disk encryption enabled. This means that only those files on the computer that are assigned to the current user or that are shared are accessible. All files of the other users are blocked, because they are encrypted for the other user. To backup the data from the other users as well, you could store the user credentials of the folders in the backup job. However, this needs a big look-through, as the encrypted folders are scattered far and wide on the disk.

The better and easier method is to create a disk image of the system partition. Here Langmeier Backup already accesses the data on a deeper layer, where Windows does not block the files.

Encryption key must also be backed up

Very important: If Windows encryption is used, then it is imperative that the encryption key be exported as a PFX file and backed up separately. If this key is not backed up, then the files cannot be opened after a restore. To make sure nothing goes wrong, it is best to back up the key to a separate file, separate from the hard disk image.

How to export the encryption key as a PFX file, read here (under the title "Key Backup").

About the Author , Founder and CEO of Langmeier Software GmbH
Urs Langmeier Urs Langmeier is founder and CEO of Langmeier Software GmbH and thus responsible for the strategic further development of Langmeier software solutions.
 

Further lookup: Encryption, Backing up Windows, Backup operating system, Backup, Data backup

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This article covers:
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The Windows Encryption Key
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Windows Cryptography Folder
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