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Windows: Opening Encrypted PK Protect Files

Opening Encrypted Files

Protected files are encrypted, in order to open them users must have access to the requisite decryption keys, in the form of Smartkeys or passphrases. Your experience in opening encrypted files may vary based on how it was encrypted.

Double-click on the PK Protect File

The most common way users open files is to double-click on them. This process doesn’t change when working with PK Protect files, you can open them by double-clicking, like all other standard files.

The Process:

  1. Double-click on the file from a desktop icon, or selected folder from Windows Explorer. 

Subsequent Actions:

To open the file, the PEM Agent must also check your access to the file’s encryption key:

  1. If the file was encrypted with Smartkey you have access to, the PEM Agent opens the file without any additional user actions.
  2. If the file was encrypted with Smartkey you DON’T have access to.
    1. You are informed that the PEM Agent was unable to decrypt the file and are provided with options to enter a passphrase. 


    2. If you don’t have the correct passphrase, you should request access to the passphrase from the originator of the file.

  3. If the file was encrypted with passphrase, you must enter the passphrase supplied to you.
    1. You will be presented with the following screen.


    2. If you don’t have the correct passphrase, you should request access to the passphrase from the originator of the file.

Right-click on the PK Protect File

When users are working with files, the right-click menu options provide a wide array of actions that can easily be executed on the desired file. The PEM Agent functionality can be access directly from the right-click menu for fast and convenient processing.

Process:

  1. Locate the desired file on your desktop or folder in Windows Explorer.
  2. Right click on the file to reveal the ‘right-click context menu’.
  3. Position your cursor on ‘PEM Agent’ to reveal the PEM Agent sub-menu.
  4. The PEM Agent menu presents the following ‘open file’ option.
    1. Right click from the Desktop.



    2. Right click from the Windows Explorer.



  5. Select the ‘Decrypt to’ option:
    1. This option will display the ‘Extract Files’ window, for you to define the destination into which the decrypted file will be placed.


Subsequent Actions:

To open the file, PEM Agent must also check your access to the file’s encryption key:

  1. If the file was encrypted with Smartkey you have access to, the PEM Agent opens the file without any additional user actions.
  2. If the file was encrypted with Smartkey you DON’T have access to:
    1. You are informed that the PEM Agent was unable to decrypt the file and are provided with options to enter a passphrase. 
    2. If you don’t have the correct passphrase, you should request access to the passphrase from the originator of the file.

Opening Encrypted Email Attachments  

When receiving an email with an encrypted file attachment, the same process is followed that’s used to open any encrypted file. The steps a user needs to take is largely dictated by the way the file was encrypted originally.

Process:

  1. Open the email message containing the encrypted file
    1. Double-click on file OR right click and select ‘open’
    2. A standard Outlook ‘Opening Mail Attachment’ message may appear, based on your mail settings.
    3. The PEM Agent checks to see which keys recipient has access to and opens or prevents the file from opening as per key membership.

Subsequent Actions:

  1. If the file was encrypted with Smartkey you have access to, the PEM Agent opens the file without any additional user actions.
  2. If the file was encrypted with Smartkey you DON’T have access to:
    1. You are informed that the PEM Agent was unable to decrypt the file and are provided with options to enter a passphrase. 


    2. If you don’t have the correct passphrase, you should request access to the passphrase from the originator of the file.

  3. If the file was encrypted with passphrase, you must enter the passphrase supplied to you. 
    1. You will be presented with the following screen.
    2. If you don’t have the correct passphrase, you should request access to the passphrase from the originator of the file.
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