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Encrypting and Decrypting a Single File or Folder with Symantec Endpoint Encryption

IMPORTANT: Symantec Endpoint Encryption (SEE) is no longer available for download and should no longer be installed. Please contact your Certified IT Group to have SEE removed and BitLocker set up instead.
Information below is provided as a courtesy for computers still using SEE and will be removed in the near future.

If your computer has SEE installed, you can use it to encrypt individual files or folders that can then be saved to an external USB key or drive, or burned on CD or DVD.
  • In all of these instances, you will tell Symantec Endpoint Encryption what password must be used to decrypt and view the file or folder.
  • Symantec Endpoint Encryption does not have to be installed on the Windows computer where the file will be opened or decrypted. Macintosh computers will not be able to open the SEE encrypted file.
  • Anyone who attempts to open the encrypted information will be prompted to enter the password you select, and will not be able to view it otherwise.
  • IMPORTANT: Once it has been successfully opened it will be saved as an unencrypted file on the receiving computer or drive, and should be deleted or encrypted again if necessary.
Encrypting and Selecting a Password
  1. On the computer running Symantec Endpoint Encryption, browse to the file or folder you would like to encrypt.
    In the screenshot below, a file called report has been selected, however you can encrypt any type of file or folder.
  2. Right click on the item and select Symantec, then Encrypt to self-extracting archive from the menu that appears.

SEE Menu when right-clicking on file or folder

  1. The Symantec Endpoint Encryption Removable Storage Self-Extracting Archive window will appear. In the Archive Name field, SEE will have automatically generated a random name for with an .exe extension.
    • If you don't want the actual file name to be visible by those who may see the encrypted file, you can leave it as is.
    • If you'd like the file to show a more descriptive name you can type in something else, but be sure to leave the .exe extension at the end.
  2. In the Encrypt to field SEE displays the location on your computer where it will save the file. If desired you can change the default location by selecting items listed under the next field titled Folders/Drives:. You may need to use the scroll bar to the right of this field to view more available locations.

    SEE File or Folder Encryption Options

  3. Select the check box to the left of the Password option, then type in your desired strong password in both the Password and Confirm fields.
    • Keep in mind that this password must be given to any desired recipient; do not use one that must be not be shared such as the password used when logging into your computer.
    • Per CUMC requirements, do not send a password or decryption key in the same medium as the encrypted file(s). This is insecure and can allow anyone who may accidentally or maliciously intercept the message to view the information you intended to protect. Sanctioned methods of sending a password to encrypted file attachments are by phone call or text message.
    • There is an option to Use Removable Storage default password, which can be chosen in the main SEE Client screen. If you will be the only person accessing the file/folder, it is ok to select this option.
  4. Click the Encrypt button to encrypt the file or folder. You may see a message that encryption is in progress; if the size of the file or folder is large it may take a few moments to finish.

    SEE Encryption in Process

  5. When encryption is complete, the Symantec Endpoint Encryption success window will appear. Click OK.

    SEE Encryption Completed window

  6. The encrypted file will have been created at the location specified in step 3 above. Once encrypted by SEE, it is recognized as an Archive file and will have an .exe extension. You can now copy or move it to a USB drive, CD or DVD.
Opening and reading the Archive file requires that it be decrypted using the instructions below.

Decrypting an Encrypted File or Folder
If you have received a file or folder that was encrypted using SEE it can be decrypted and opened or read by completing the following steps.
  • You must know the password that was set when it was encrypted.
  • Please note this cannot be done on Macintosh computers; any Windows computer can be used whether or not SEE is installed.
  1. Save the SEE file to the desired location on your computer, then double-click it to start decrypting.

    SEE Encrypted File in Desktop Folder

  2. The Symantec Endpoint Encryption Self-Extractor Password window will appear. Type in the decryption password that was given to you and click OK.
    NOTE: If you see a window prompting for the Extract to location please click here for instructions.

    SEE Self-Extractor Password Window

    NOTE: SEE allows you four attempts to type in the correct password. If it is not entered correctly, you will have to wait for one minute before being able to try again.

    Wrong Password Error

    Wait to try again

  3. When the correct password is entered, the Symantec Endpoint Encryption Removable Storage Package Modifier window will appear and display the original file or folder name. Select the Extract To button near the bottom of the window.

    SEE Extract Encrypted File

  4. The Removable Storage Extractor window will appear. You can decrypt the file in the default Extract to location, or select a different location under the Folders/Drives area. Click the Extract button at the bottom of the window when you are ready.


  5. When decryption is done a success message will be displayed. Click OK.

  6. The decrypted file will appear in the location specified in step 4 above, with the original name it had before it was encrypted. Double-click on the file to open.

    SEE Extracted file in Desktop folder

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Last updated 6/01/2016