FIX: Encrypt folder is greyed out in Windows 10

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as a front-end web developer. Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Encryption is a great means to protect confidential information, but what if the encrypt folder is greyed out in Windows 10?
  • Several users reported different, yet similar issues including that they can't encrypt folders, the Encrypt folder is not working, the Encrypt with a password is greyed out, and so on.
  • Problems with file encryption can occur but worry not! We have all the right fixes listed below.
  • Start by checking your Windows 10 version and continue the troubleshooting at your own pace.
encrypt folder grayed out
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File encryption is the best method to protect your files and that is no secret.

However, many users reported that the encrypt folder option is grayed out.

While we’re at it, we can include similar problematic situations that Windows users encountered such as the inability to encrypt folders at all, the Encrypt folder not working, the Encrypt with a password greyed out, and so on.

Does any of these sound familiar? The case being, you have reached to right place.

If you can’t encrypt folders on your PC, perhaps you can fix this problem using one of our solutions.

How do I enable grayed out Encrypt contents button?

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

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

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 the 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

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, for instance.

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

Here’s a complete guide on how to encrypt files and folders in Windows 10.

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 the FAT32 file type for your partitions.

If you’re using a FAT32 file system, you might be able to convert it.

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 this command: convert X:/ fs:ntfs
  • 3. 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 a third-party tool. If you decide to use this method, be sure to back up all your important files beforehand.

So, 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.

As shown above, 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.

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This procedure comes with certain risks, and we’re not responsible for potential file loss that might occur.

3. Use third-party applications

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.

Encryption programs lock data in such a way that it can only be opened with a certain key, making it more difficult for other third-party hacking tools to get access.

These encryption solutions may be used to safeguard data such as email addresses, transactions, and passwords, as well as other critical information that you cannot risk disclosing randomly.

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

4. 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 to 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 this key in the left pane: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlFileSystem
  • 3. In the right pane, double-click the NtfsDisableEncryption DWORD to open its properties.
    folder encrypt grayed out registry
  • 4. 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.


5. Make sure that the Encrypting File System (EFS) service is running

According to users, if the 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 the 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.


Is BitLocker greyed out in Windows 10? Or maybe it simply fails to encrypt a drive? Here’s what to do!


6. Perform 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.

In some instances, the 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.

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 this command: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
    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.


7. Use 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 this command: fsutil behavior set disableencryption 0

According to users, if you can’t encrypt files, you might be able to fix this problem using the fsutil command.

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


If the encrypt folder feature isn’t working, you need to be sure that you meet 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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Frequently Asked Questions

  • One possible reason could be the EFS not working. Type services.msc in the Run menu, select EFS from the list, and set its Startup type to Automatic. If you’re having trouble finding your history in the Run menu, consider these fixes.

  • There are many potential culprits from incorrect registry values all the way to the version of Windows 10 you’re on. Have a look at this complete guide with causes and solutions to fix a greyed out Encrypt folder option.

  • In File Explorer, right-click on your folder and open its Properties. Then go to the General tab ->Advanced ->Encrypt contents (…). If you’d like a more detailed view on how to encrypt files and folders in Windows 10, here’s all you need to know.

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