HOW TO: Decrypt Files Using PGP Desktop 8.x

Article:HOWTO41925  |  Created: 2006-03-14  |  Updated: 2011-02-06  |  Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/HOWTO41925
Article Type
How To




This article describes how to decrypt individual files using PGP Desktop 8.x.



There are multiple ways to encrypt a file using PGP, which means there are also multiple ways to decrypt a file using PGP. Each decryption method will be discussed in this article. When a saved file is encrypted by PGP, depending on the method of encryption used, the encrypted file will assume one of three additional extensions (which are associated with PGP): .pgp, .asc, or.sda.exe. Thus, if a file created in Notepad was saved as file.txt and encrypted by PGP, it would become file.txt.pgp, or file.txt.asc, or file.txt.sda.exe - depending on the method of encryption used. In order for an encrypted file to be recognized and decrypted by PGP, the file must have one of the aforementioned file extensions (unless the file was open at the time of encryption, and its textual body was actually encrypted). Once an encrypted file meets the right criteria for decryption, the associated passphrase must then be entered to actually decrypt the file.

Note: If you are attempting to decrypt a PGP self-decrypting archive (SDA) or a conventionally-encrypted PGP file, you must know the passphrase which was chosen by the PGP user who originally encrypted the file, otherwise you will be unable to decrypt the file.

Decrypt an encrypted file 

  1. Double click the file to be decrypted. If the passphrase for your private key is not cached, or if the file was encrypted with conventional encryption, the Enter Passphrase window will appear (which also shows all the public keys to which the file was encrypted, if applicable).
  2. You may also right click the file to be decrypted, point to PGP, then click Decrypt & Verify.
  3. Enter the passphrase for your private key (or if the file was conventionally encrypted, enter the passphrase chosen by the file's encrypting user).
  4. Click OK. At this point the PGP-associated extension (.pgp, .asc, or .sda.exe) will be removed from the file.
  5. If no file of the same name exists in the directory where the encrypted file is located, the decrypted file will automatically be saved in the same directory without further intervention. Otherwise, you must enter an output filename/location for the file being decrypted, and click Save.
Note: The aforementioned decryption methods may also be accessed from the PGP mail toolbar by clicking the Decrypt & Verify button, whose icon appears on the PGP mail toolbar as an unlocked padlock and open envelope.

Decrypt with the Current Window feature 

PGP's Current Window feature allows you to decrypt an encrypted body of text inside an open window on your screen.

  1. Make sure the window, containing the body of text you wish to decrypt, is the foremost window on your screen.
  2. Click the PGPtray icon in your system tray (gray or gold padlock).
  3. Point to Current Window.
  4. Click Decrypt & Verify.
  5. If the passphrase for your private key is not cached, or if the text was encrypted with conventional encryption, the Enter Passphrase window will appear (which also shows all the public keys to which the file was encrypted, if applicable).
  6. Enter the passphrase for your private key (or if the text was conventionally encrypted, enter the passphrase chosen by the encrypting user), then click OK. At this point the PGP Text Viewer will appear displaying the decrypted data. If necessary, click the Copy to Clipboard button, then paste the decrypted data.

Decrypt with the Clipboard feature 

PGP's Clipboard feature allows you to decrypt encrypted data which you've copied to the Windows clipboard.

  1. Copy the text which you desire to decrypt.
  2. Click the PGPtray icon in your system tray (gray or gold padlock).
  3. Point to Clipboard.
  4. Click Decrypt & Verify. At this point, the encrypted data will be decrypted and will remain on the clipboard.
  5. Now paste the contents of the clipboard into a file to which you have write permission. The pasted text should be in decrypted and readable form.

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Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/HOWTO41925


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