What Is an ENCRYPTED File?

How to open ENCRYPTED files or delete related viruses

What to Know

  • An ENCRYPTED file is a TopStudio Encrypted file.
  • Open one with EasyCrypto.
  • This extension is sometimes used by malware.

This article explains how to open a file that uses the ENCRYPTED file extension, and what to do if you have malware that changes the name of all your files to use this extension.

What Is an ENCRYPTED File?

A file with the .ENCRYPTED file extension might be called a TopStudio Encrypted file. However, any program that encrypts a file may use this file extension, too, such as EasyCrypto.

What the file extension normally indicates is that the file has been encrypted. However, sometimes, a malware infection may rename a bunch of files to ones that have the ENCRYPTED file extension—there's some more information on this below.

Gold lock and key
matejmo / Getty Images

Files that are encrypted for privacy reasons don't necessarily use this exact file extension. See the bottom of this page for more on that.

How to Open an ENCRYPTED File

EasyCrypto is one program that creates encrypted files. When it does so, it adds the .ENCRYPTED extension at the end of the file name. However, various other programs can encrypt data as well, many of them just use a different method to store the encrypted data.

VeraCrypt, for example, is a full disk encryption program that encrypts files much like EasyCrypto, but it doesn't use this extension. Encrypting a flash drive with that program, for example, will not make a bunch of .ENCRYPTED files.

Another example is the .FORTENC file extension used by a program called Fort. These are encrypted files but they don't use append .ENCRYPTED at the end.

Do you have an .ENCRYPTED file that you know isn't used by EasyCrypto? If there is any other file encryption program on your computer, try using its File menu to load or mount the file. It's possible that the program you already have is the one that created the file, and therefore is the one that opens it, too.

How to Convert an ENCRYPTED File

ENCRYPTED files that are used with EasyCrypto aren't supposed to be converted to any other format, which is why that software doesn't provide a way to convert one.

However, if you have files inside the ENCRYPTED file that you want to be converted, just decrypt them first and then use a free file converter on them. For example, if it's full of MP3s that you want to convert, decrypt the files first so that they're no longer associated with the ENCRYPTED extension, and then use a free audio converter to convert them to WAV, M4R, etc.

Restore .ENCRYPTED Files Created by Viruses

If there are lots of .ENCRYPTED files on your computer, you have no idea how they got there, and none of them will open as they should, your computer has probably been infected with the Crypt0L0cker, Dr. Jumbo, or Crypren ransomware.

What happens is the malware encrypts a number of files and then holds them ransom. These files normally retain their names but have the .ENCRYPTED extension added at the end, like imagefile.jpg.encrypted for a JPG file.

Sometimes, these files won't even try to open when you double-click or double-tap them. Others will open a text file—the same file for each one you try—that says something like:

All your data was encrypted! If you don't contact this email address in 48 hours, all your data will be erased!

They make you believe that the only way to get your files back is if you pay for them, but that isn't true.

You can open these .ENCRYPTED files by removing the malware. We recommend starting off with the free Malwarebytes program. If that doesn't remove the virus, use the trial version of HitmanPro to scan the computer for infections.

If neither of these programs removes the malware and restores your files back to normal, see How to Properly Scan Your Computer for Viruses, Trojans, and Other Malware for more help.

Some malicious programs copy your files, encrypt the copies, and then remove the originals, which means just removing the virus won't be enough to restore your files. You may need to use a file recovery program to "undelete" your data.

Other Encrypted Files

When a file is encrypted, it simply means that it's scrambled to prevent unauthorized people from seeing it. This can apply to anything; you can encrypt your email, specific files, and whole hard drives.

For individual files, the file extension that's used depends entirely on the software that did the encrypting. Some apps don't append a file extension to the file name, but others do so that it's easier to decrypt it when you decide to.

AXX, KEY, CHA, and EPM are some examples of file extensions that various programs use to indicate that the file has been encrypted. So long as you have the associated software installed on your computer, double-clicking one of those files will open it in the correct program and give you an opportunity to decrypt the file.

Was this page helpful?