parallax background

The Green File Debacle in Windows.

The Complete Guide to Using your Stock Car Stereo as a Legitimate Engineering Tool.
October 7, 2016
Distortion Can Ruin a Great Track. Here is How You Optimize it.
February 1, 2017

I believe this no longer applies to Windows 10 but I certainly saw it plenty with Windows 7 and if I EVER see a green colored file/folder again, I'm going to correct it the moment I spot it.

I f you're a PC user, you might at some point have seen files or folders on your system that have a GREEN font. Without realizing it, this could cause a serious headache and possibly loss of data in the future.

These files and folders typically come from Mac users (usually OSX) who compress them into a Zip file. When Windows receives them and unZips them, by default (and without asking you) it encrypts the files using an encryption key that is associated with your current installation of the Windows operating system. It won't pose a problem or exhibit any kind of symptoms that would alert you and require your attention. The encrypted files will work normally.

If you ignore it, it will likely come back to bite you in the ass later.


Where the problems come into play, is when you try and access these files and folders from a different computer, or even the SAME computer with a new Windows installation. Each operating system has its own encryption key that gets created when you install it.

In my case, I wiped my hard drive that was having issues and then reinstalled Windows - which created a new encryption key. When I tried to access any of those files and folders, I received errors that prevented me from accessing them. Trying to un-encrypt the files is useless because with a new install of Windows, I no longer have the original encryption key from the previous Windows installation. Fortunately, I image my computer using Macrium Reflect so I was able to restore the previous Windows installation, un-encrypt the files and folders, then restore the current Windows installation again. Problem solved.

What can YOU do???

As standard practice now, I IMMEDIATELY un-encrypt ANY files/folders that have the green font. This way, if the computer crashes at any time, those files won't give me problems. BUT, if for some reason I forget, the ONLY way to gain access to those files is by having access to the encryption key that created them. In my case, by using an imaging system, I was able to load the old OS with the original keys. In YOUR case, your should [RIGHT NOW] create back up copies of your current encryption keys. You can do this by following the instructions on the page I've listed below. Create the key, store multiple copies in several places like a flash drive, Google Drive or external hard drive. You'll be able to recover the files down the line by having these keys.

Sign up for my "Fore the Record" Newsletter and you'll have good industry Karma!

Leave a Reply