Help Desk

Computing & Information Services

Cross-Platform Encryption

An encrypted archive created on a Mac using Disk Utility cannot be opened easily in Windows.  Similarly, an encrypted archive created using Bitlocker cannot be easily opened on a Mac.

To create encrypted archives that can be opened both in Mac OSX and in Windows, we recommend an open-source application called 7-Zip for Windows users and Encrypt Files or Folders for OSX users.  This software allows that encrypted archives created in OSX can be opened in Windows (and vice versa).

Acquiring and installing 7-Zip

Head to, where you can download the latest version of 7-Zip for your operating system. The software is open-source, so it's free.

Creating an encrypted archive in Windows

  1. Right click on the files or folders you wish to encrypt and select 7-Zip --> Add to image
  2. Set the Archive Format to "Zip"                       zip image
  3. Set the Encryption Method to "AES-256"                \
  4. Enter your desired password under Encryption     encryption screenshot
  5. Click OK and your new encrypted zip file will be created.

Decrypting an encrypted archive in Windows

  1.  Right click on the zip file and click extract
  2. Enter the password you created

Creating an encrypted archive in OSX


Managed Software Center includes a download of Encrypt Files or Foldersscreen-shot-2017-05-09-at-11.34.38-am.png

  1. Open Managed Software Center and install Encrypt Files or Folders
  2. Click on Encrypt Files or Folders in the doc                                                                    screen-shot-2017-05-09-at-11.40.44-am.png
  3. In the screen that pops up, select the files or folders that you would like to encryptscreen-shot-2017-05-09-at-11.41.25-am.png
  4. A message will pop up with a three word password for your new encrypted archive. Click OK.screen-shot-2017-05-09-at-11.41.37-am.png
  5. Depending on the size of the files, it may take some time. Another pop up will appear with your password after encryption is complete.          screen-shot-2017-05-09-at-11.41.48-am.png                                              

Decrypting an encrypted archive in OSX

  1. Click on the file you wish to decrypt and you will be prompted for your passwordscreen-shot-2017-05-09-at-1.38.49-pm.png
  2. Enter your password and your files or folders will appear in the same location as the encrypted archive.


Note: You can attach an encrypted archive to an email just as you would attach any other file.  Remember, though, that you'll also need to relay the archive password to the recipient.  Whatever you do, don't include the password in the text of a message, along with the attached encrypted archive!

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