Microsoft small business knowledge base

Article ID: 250494 - Last Review: June 19, 2014 - Revision: 7.0


When you try to access a file on an NTFS file system volume, you may receive an "access is denied" error message. The file's NTFS permissions indicate that you can access the file.


This behavior can occur if another user has encrypted the file. To determine if a file has been encrypted, see the "More Information" section in this article.


To resolve this behavior, the file must be decrypted by the user who encrypted the file, or by the designated Recovery agent. Files that are encrypted by using the Encrypting File System (EFS) are accessible only to the person who encrypted the file, regardless of the other permissions that are on the file.


This behavior is by design.

More information

To determine if a file has been encrypted:
  1. Start Windows Explorer, and then click Detail on the View menu to view the details of the folder's contents.
  2. Click Choose Columns from the View menu, and then click to select the Attributes check box to add the Attributes column to the current view, and to view the file attributes.

    If there is an "E" in the Attributes column for that file, the file is encrypted.

Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard Edition
kbefs kberrmsg kbfilesystems kbprb w2000efs w2000fs KB250494
Additional support options
Ask The Microsoft Small Business Support Community
Contact Microsoft Small Business Support
Find Microsoft Small Business Support Certified Partner
Find a Microsoft Store For In-Person Small Business Support