Protected storage (PStore) uses a lower-quality cryptographic function when the system locale is set to French (France) on a Microsoft Windows-based computer. Data Protection API (DPAPI) functions are not affected.
This issue occurs because Microsoft implemented the PStore feature in Windows during the 1990s when French law prohibited the supply of products that contain encryption capabilities without prior authorization from the French government. The French review process was very detailed and would have led to a significant delay for the release of Windows in France. To make sure that the product was available to the French market in a synchronized manner with all locales, Microsoft chose to disable the encryption of Protected Storage by using a single, fixed encryption key for the French locale. With the relaxation of French encryption regulations late in 1999, the fixed encryption key for PStore is no longer necessary for the French locale. However, the fixed encryption key has not been removed from PStore.
To resolve the issue in which PStore uses a lower-quality cryptographic function when the system locale is set to French (France), install this update. This update brings the protection level of the French locale to parity with all localized versions of Windows. The specific French local check is removed from PStore, and the contents are automatically reencrypted with a new, random key.
If you uninstall this update and then reinstall this update, the data that is written to the PStore in the duration between uninstall and the reinstall remains encrypted by using the fixed encryption key. The data is not automatically reencrypted with a new random key until and unless it is read again after the reinstallation.
The use of PStore in general has been deprecated, and developers are encouraged to use the stronger data protection that is provided by the CryptProtectData function and by the CryptUnprotectData function.
For information about the CryptProtectData function, please visit the following MSDN Web site:
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