How to remove Lock Overlay Icon on Encrypted Files in Windows 10

One of the best ways to keep your data safe is to encrypt all the important files and folders. Microsoft offers a simple tool for this purpose called, EFS (Encrypted File Service). The built-in tool from Microsoft is pretty straightforward in its function. Within just few clicks, it ensures your files are kept safe in its vault. When a folder is encrypted Windows adds a lock icon overlay to the folder icon to identify it as an encrypted folder. But if you don’t want anyone to know that it is an encrypted folder, you can remove the overlay icon.

Remove Lock Overlay Icon on Encrypted Files

The Lock icon means that you have a private item in a non-private directory. This indicates that it is a file or folder with special permissions  & that the user is restricted from performing some operations on that file or folder.

To remove the lock overlay icon, you will have to open Registry Editor. To do so, press Win+R in combination. In the empty field of Run dialog box that appears on your computer screen, type regedit and hit Enter.

When the Registry Editor opens, navigate to the following location:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Icons

Please note that, if the Shell Icons key does not exist, you will have to create it. To do so, select File Explorer, right click Explorer, chose New and select ‘Key’ from the options displayed, and name the key as Shell Icons.

Remove Lock Overlay Icon on Encrypted Files

If you already have Shell Icons, you will see a string 178 in the right panel of your window screen. If not, create a new String Value and name it 178.

New String Value

Now set its Value Data to the full path of a blank icon file. You will have to create a blank or transparent .ico file of size or you can download this one from our servers and use it.

New value

Now, for removing the Lock Icon Overlay, edit the string value 178 and insert the path of the blank .ico file you want to use.

At any point of time, if you would like to restore to original settings, then simply delete the 178 String.

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The author Hemant Saxena is a post-graduate in bio-technology and has an immense interest in following Windows, Office and other technology developments. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player. Creating a System Restore Point first before installing a new software, and being careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware is recommended.