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Windows How to Decrypt a File

Concept: Users, typically partners and customers, located externally to organizations that use PK Protect to protect their data often need to collaborate, obtain or share information that’s considered sensitive or private. Considering this information is encrypted prior to being sent externally, the external recipients need a tool to securely decrypt the protected files sent to them. The PK Protect Reader is the ideal application for organization to facilitate the sharing of secure information to their external users.

Steps to decrypt a file are:

  1. Open the Reader application.
  2. Click Select archives to Extract or drag the archive you want to open into the white box.
  3. Depending on the type of archive and different keys that might be protecting the archive, you will see a different prompt:
    1. For a Passphrase-encrypted archive: Enter the passphrase for the archive.
    2. If the archive is encrypted with a Smartkey, and you have a PK Protect account, enter the email address and password for your account and click Sign In
    3. If the archive is encrypted with aSmartkey, and you don't have a PK Protect account, follow these steps:
      1. Uncheck I have an account.
      2. Enter Name, email, and password (This email needs to be valid and one you have access to. If someone created a Smartkey for you, it also needs to match the email address the sender used.)
      3. Click Sign Up.
      4. You'll receive an account confirmation email at the address you provided. Click the confirmation link.


If you see this Unable to decrypt window, it means the account (email/password) authenticated with the Smartcrypt Reader does not have access to the Smartkey used to protect the archive.

To resolve the issue

  • Ask the sender to re-encrypt the file with a different key.
  • Ask the sender for the passphrase to the archive.
  • Ask the sender which email address was included in the Smartkey access control list.

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