Archive for November, 2011

How to backup and restore Windows NTFS EFS certificates

Starting with Windows XP, the Encrypting File System (EFS) allowed for transparent, in-place encryption of files on your computer using automatically-generated certificates tied to your user profile. This would prevent access to encrypted files in case the data on the hard drive became compromised. However, if the user profile became corrupted or you were unable to log in normally, the encrypted files would become inaccessible.

You can prevent this from happening by backing up your certificates while the system is in a working state, so that you are able them to restore them later if the need arises.

In Windows XP, you can backup the certificate by doing the following:

  1. Log into the computer
  2. Click Start > Run and type mmc, then press enter.
  3. From the menu, choose File > Add/Remove Snap-in.
  4. Click Add, select Certificates, click Add, select My user account.
  5. Click Finish, click Close, click OK.
  6. Browse to Certificates – Current userPersonalCertificates.
  7. Right-click the certificate that you want to export.
  8. Click All Tasks then click Export.
  9. Follow the steps in the Certificate Export Wizard. Make sure to select that you want to export the private key along with the certificate.

In Windows XP, you can import the certificate by doing the following:

  1. Log into the computer
  2. Click Start > Run and type mmc, then press enter.
  3. From the menu, choose File > Add/Remove Snap-in.
  4. Click Add, select Certificates, click Add, select My user account.
  5. Click Finish, click Close, click OK.
  6. Browse to Certificates – Current userPersonal.
  7. Right-click Personal.
  8. Click All Tasks, click Import.
  9. Follow the steps in the Certificate Import Wizard. When browsing for the certificate, you should select Personal Information Exchange (*.pfx; *.p12) from the Files of type dropdown list box. You will need to enter the password you supplied when you exported the certificate from the destination computer.

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, you can manage your EFS certificates by going to Control Panel > User Accounts > Manage your file encryption certificates. From here, you can backup and restore your EFS certificates.

Do you have a method of backing up or restoring the EFS certificates not mentioned above, or have other feedback related to Windows EFS? Please feel free to share it in the comments below. Thank you!

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Google Music vs iTunes Match

Google and Apple each brought their own services which allow users to upload their music library and stream it to their devices in the form of Google Music and iTunes Match, respectively. But how do those services compare?

Let’s take a side-by-side comparative look at some of the features:

FeatureGoogle MusiciTunes Match
Number of songs20,000 songs not purchased from Android Market25,000 songs not purchased from iTunes
Supported devicesWorks on common browsers on Win / Mac / Linux / Android / iOS (1)Works on Win / Mac running iTunes; iOS devices supporting iCloud
SyncAutomatically sync music to Google Music using Win / Mac / Linux clientAutomatically sync music to iTunes Match using iTunes
Sync SelectionSelect which songs to upload using sync clientAll songs from iTunes library are synchronized.
Local StorageSave music to your Win / Mac / Linux / Android device for offline playbackSave music to your Win / Mac / iOS device for offline playback
UploadingEvery song must be uploadedMatching is performed prior to upload; Only unmatched songs are uploaded
Supported file formatsMp3, AAC (m4a), wma, flac, ogg (source)Same as iTunes
Excluded formatsNone24-bit audio; Bitrates under 96 kbps; File over 200MB (source)

(1) Although Google Music is reported to work on iOS devices, I can confirm it does work on iOS (iPhone), but only as the desktop site (which is clunky and requires zooming on an iPhone screen). The mobile site still shows I have no music in my library.

As you can see, Google Music is aimed at the Android crowd, while iTunes Match is aimed at the iOS crowd. However, a few of the major points in Google Music’s favor that I see are that it supports playback from a web browser, has a Linux client, and is free.

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