Cipher Command Switches
Like many commands in Microsoft Windows, Cipher has several switches that can be found by typing cipher /? at the command prompt window. Below is a listing of this help information as supplied by Microsoft from the aforesaid command (These switches are referenced from the command prompt as stated and on various websites such as Technet). Using these switches in combination produces the results based on your commands.
CIPHER /REKEY [pathname [...]]
/B Abort if an error is encountered. By default, CIPHER continues executing even if errors are encountered.
/C Displays information on the encrypted file.
/D Decrypts the specified files or directories.
/E Encrypts the specified files or directories. Directories will be marked so that files added afterward will be encrypted. The
encrypted file could become decrypted when it is modified if the parent directory is not encrypted. It is recommended that you
encrypt the file and the parent directory.
/H Displays files with the hidden or system attributes. These files are omitted by default.
/K Creates a new certificate and key for use with EFS. If this option is chosen, all the other options will be ignored.
/N This option only works with /U. This will prevent keys being updated. This is used to find all the encrypted files on the
/R Generates an EFS recovery agent key and certificate, then writes them to a .PFX file (containing certificate and private key) and
a .CER file (containing only the certificate). An administrator may add the contents of the .CER to the EFS recovery policy to
create the recovery agent for users, and import the .PFX to recover individual files. If SMARTCARD is specified, then writes
the recovery key and certificate to a smart card. A .CER file is generated (containing only the certificate). No .PFX file is
/S Performs the specified operation on directories in the given directory and all subdirectories.
/U Tries to touch all the encrypted files on local drives. This will update user's file encryption key or recovery agent's key to the
current ones if they are changed. This option does not work with other options except /N.
/W Removes data from available unused disk space on the entire volume. If this option is chosen, all other options are ignored.
The directory specified can be anywhere in a local volume. If it is a mount point or points to a directory in another volume, the
data on that volume will be removed.
/X Backup EFS certificate and keys into file filename. If efsfile is provided, the current user's certificate(s) used to encrypt the
file will be backed up. Otherwise, the user's current EFS certificate and keys will be backed up.
/Y Displays your current EFS certificate thumbnail on the local PC.
/ADDUSER Adds a user to the specified encrypted file(s). If CERTHASH is provided, cipher will search for a certificate with this SHA1
hash. If CERTFILE is provided, cipher will extract the certificate from the file.
/REKEY Updates the specified encrypted file(s) to use the configured EFS current key.
/REMOVEUSER Removes a user from the specified file(s). CERTHASH must be the SHA1 hash of the certificate to remove.