Encrypt folder option is greyed out on Windows 10, here’s how to fix it

Milan Stanojevic avatar. By: Milan Stanojevic
6 minute read
encrypt folder grayed out

Home » Encrypt folder option is greyed out on Windows 10, here’s how to fix it

File encryption is the best method to protect your files, however, many users reported that encrypt folder option is grayed out. If you can’t encrypt files on your PC, perhaps you can fix this problem using one of our solutions.

Problems with file encryption can occur, and speaking of encryption issues, here are some similar problems that users reported:

  • Encrypt folder not working, to secure data greyed out, greyed out Windows 10, 7 – These problems can affect almost any version of Windows and if you encounter them, be sure to try all of our solutions.
  • Encrypt with password is greyed out – This problem can occur if you don’t meet certain requirements. In order to use the built-in file encryption, you need to use the Pro version of Windows as well as NTFS drive.
  • Can’t encrypt folder Windows 10 – If this problem appears, be sure to check if the necessary services are running. In addition, you might have to make a couple of changes to your registry.

Encrypt folder option grayed out, how to fix it?


  1. Make sure that you’re using the Pro version of Windows 10
  2. Make sure that you’re using an NTFS drive
  3. Modify the registry
  4. Make sure that Encrypting File System (EFS) service is running
  5. Perform SFC and DISM scans
  6. Use fsutil command
  7. Use third-party applications

Solution 1 – Make sure that you’re using the Pro version of Windows 10

Windows 10 offers a built-in feature to encrypt files and folders. This is a simple and useful feature, especially if you want to protect your files from unauthorized access. Despite the usability of file encryption, this feature isn’t available on all editions of Windows.

File encryption isn’t available on the Home versions of Windows, so if you’re using the Home version of Windows, the built-in file encryption feature isn’t available. To check which version of Windows you’re using, you just need to do the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter system information. Select System Information from the menu.
    can't encrypt system information
  2. When System Information window opens, in the right lane look for OS Name value. In there you should see the current version of Windows you’re using.
    system information encrypt folder grayed out

If you’re not using the Pro version, then you won’t be able to use the built-in file encryption feature. Bear in mind that you can’t upgrade from Home to Pro version of Windows, so if you want to use the Pro version, you’ll need to purchase a license and reinstall your system.

If you still want to use file encryption feature on the Home version of Windows, you’ll have to rely on third-party solutions.


Solution 2 – Make sure that you’re using an NTFS drive

Built-in file encryption is available only for NTFS drives, so if you’re using Windows 10 Pro version, be sure to check if you’re using the NTFS drive. In case you’re not familiar, NTFS is the newer file type, and it has numerous advantages over FAT32, so there’s no reason to use FAT32 file type for your partitions.

If you’re using a FAT32 file system, you might be able to convert it. One way to do that is to format your partition and choose the NTFS file type. This is the simplest method, but by using it you’ll remove all your files from that partition. If you decide to use this method, be sure to back up all your important files beforehand.

You can also convert FAT32 drive into NTFS drive without file loss by using Command Prompt. Although this method shouldn’t remove your files, we advise you to create a backup just in case. This procedure comes with certain risks, and we’re not responsible for potential file loss that might occur.

To convert your FAT32 drive to NTFS, do the following:

  1. Start Command Prompt as administrator. To do that, right-click the Start button and choose Command Prompt (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin).
    can't encrypt command prompt
  2. When Command Prompt starts, run the convert X:/ fs:ntfs command. Be sure to replace X with the actual letter that represents your drive.

After the command is executed, your drive should be converted to NTFS file type and you’ll be able to use built-in file encryption.

If this method seems a bit complicated, you can always use third-party tool such as MiniTool Partition Wizard. This tool offers simple and friendly user interface, so you should be able to convert your drive with just two clicks.


Solution 3 – Modify the registry

If you can’t encrypt files on your PC, the issue might be related to your registry. To fix this problem, it’s advised to make a couple of changes in your registry. You can do that by following these simple steps:

  1. Open Registry Editor. To do that, press Windows Key + R and enter regedit. Now press Enter or click OK.
    regedit folder encrypt grayed out
  2. When Registry Editor opens, navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlFileSystem in the left pane. In the right pane, double-click the NtfsDisableEncryption DWORD to open its properties.
    folder encrypt grayed out registry
  3. Set the Value data to 1 and click OK to save changes. If this value is already set to 1, change it to 0.

After making these changes, restart your PC. Once your PC restarts, check if the problem is still there.


Solution 4 – Make sure that Encrypting File System (EFS) service is running

According to users, if encrypt folder option is grayed out on your Windows 10 PC, it’s possible that the required services aren’t running. File encryption relies on Encrypting File System (EFS) service, and in order to fix this problem, you need to do the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter services.msc. Now press Enter or click OK.
    folder encrypt grayed out services run window
  2. When the Services window opens, locate Encrypting File System (EFS) and double-click it to open its properties.
    can't encrypt services
  3. Set the Startup type to Automatic and click Apply and OK to save changes.
    folder encrypt grayed out properties

After doing that, restart your PC and check if the problem is resolved.


Solution 5 – Perform SFC and DISM scans

In some instances, encrypt folder option might be grayed out because your system is damaged. Your Windows installation can get corrupted for various reasons, and in order to fix this issue, it’s advised that you perform both SFC and DISM scans. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Start Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. When the Command Prompt window appears, run the sfc /scannow command.
    sfc can't encrypt
  3. The scan will now start. The process can take about 15 minutes or more, so don’t interfere with it in any way.

Once you complete the SFC scan, check if the problem is still there. If you weren’t able to run SFC scan, or if the problem is still there, try running the DISM scan. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Start Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Run the DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth command.
    dism scan can't encrypt
  3. DISM scan should now start. The scan can take about 20 minutes or more, so be sure not to interrupt it.

Once the scan is finished, check if the problem is still there. If you weren’t able to run SFC scan before, try running it after DISM scan and check if that helps.


Solution 6 – Use fsutil command

According to users, if you can’t encrypt files, you might be able to fix this problem using the fsutil command. This is fairly simple, and in order to do it, you just have to follow these steps:

  1. Run Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. When Command Prompt opens, enter fsutil behavior set disableencryption 0 command.

After this command is executed, restart your PC and check if the problem is still there.


Solution 7 – Use third-party applications

can't encrypt folder lock

If other solutions didn’t fix your problem, or if you’re using a Home version of Windows, perhaps you might be able to solve this problem by using third-party applications.

There are many great encryption applications available, but if you’re looking for a simple encryption application that has AES 256-bit encryption, we recommend that you try Folder Lock software.

These third-party applications don’t have any special requirements, and they should be able to work on any version of Windows without problems.

If encrypt folder feature isn’t working, you need to be sure that you meet the certain requirements. However, if you meet the necessary requirements and you still can’t encrypt files, be sure to try some of our solutions.

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