Scripting Question

ERROR: how to fix "The directory name is invalid "

09/28/2015 5699 views


I need a help.

I am trying to decrypt the files in C:\files.txt. and I am running the following line in cmd.exe as admin but getting "The directory name is invalid " error

for /F "tokens=*" %A in (C:\files.txt) do cipher /D /A /S:"%A"

any help should be appreciated.

3 Comments   [ + ] Show comments


  • is files.txt a file or directory?
    • files.txt is a file
      and inside that file there are some file names and folder names.

      examples in files.txt file:

  • are you running this as a batch file. I have had to in some scripts use %%A instead %A.


    /s: is for directory and if you have files also in this list that could be what is generating the error. also what is /A?

    windows 7 cipher help shows:

    CIPHER [/E | /D | /C]
    [/S:directory] [/B] [/H] [pathname [...]]

    CIPHER /K [/ECC:256|384|521]

    CIPHER /R:filename [/SMARTCARD] [/ECC:256|384|521]

    CIPHER /U [/N]

    CIPHER /W:directory

    CIPHER /X[:efsfile] [filename]


    CIPHER /ADDUSER [/CERTHASH:hash | /CERTFILE:filename | /USER:username]
    [/S:directory] [/B] [/H] [pathname [...]]


    [/S:directory] [/B] [/H] [pathname [...]]

    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.

    Note: By default, /K creates a certificate and key that conform
    to current group policy. If ECC is specified, a self-signed
    certificate will be created with the supplied key size.

    /N This option only works with /U. This will prevent keys being
    updated. This is used to find all the encrypted files on the
    local drives.
    /R Generates an EFS recovery 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 key 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

    Note: By default, /R creates an 2048-bit RSA recovery key and
    certificate. If ECC is specified, it must be followed by a
    key size of 256, 384, or 521.

    /S Performs the specified operation on the given directory and all
    files and subdirectories within it.
    /U Tries to touch all the encrypted files on local drives. This will
    update user's file encryption key or recovery keys 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. If USER is provided, cipher will
    try to locate the user's certificate in Active Directory Domain
    Clears the calling user's EFS key cache on the specified server.
    If servername is not provided, cipher clears the user's key cache
    on the local machine.
    /REKEY Updates the specified encrypted file(s) to use the configured
    EFS current key.
    Removes a user from the specified file(s). CERTHASH must be the
    SHA1 hash of the certificate to remove.

    directory A directory path.
    filename A filename without extensions.
    pathname Specifies a pattern, file or directory.
    efsfile An encrypted file path.

    Used without parameters, CIPHER displays the encryption state of the
    current directory and any files it contains. You may use multiple directory
    names and wildcards. You must put spaces between multiple parameters.
    • Usually %%A will be used in batch script and %A will be used in cmd lines.
      /A = performs the operation directory for files and directories (Soure: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Bb490878.aspx?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396)

      so is there a other way to decrypt the files without that error? because the files.txt contains some folder names and files names so I have to use /D /D /S switches.
  • Usually %%A will be used in batch script and %A will be used in cmd lines.
    /A = performs the operation directory for files and directories (Soure: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Bb490878.aspx?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396)
    • does it also give the same error if you run it as a batch file?

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