HOW TO: Create PGP Virtual Disks - PGP Desktop 10 for macOS (Symantec Encryption Desktop)
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HOW TO: Create PGP Virtual Disks - PGP Desktop 10 for macOS (Symantec Encryption Desktop)


Article ID: 180237


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 Symantec Encryption Desktop, or PGP Desktop includes a way to create a secure container called a "PGP Virtual Disk".  When the container is open, you can copy files to/from it, just like a regular drive letter.  When it is closed, it is a regular file that cannot be accessed as it uses strong encryption and prompts for passphrase to "Mount".  This article goes over the details of how this can be done. 


This article gives instructions on how to create PGP Virtual Disks on macOS.


Note on Virtual Disks working with macOS systems using M1/Silicon/AppleSoc:  At this time, Symantec Engineering is working to allow the PGP Virtual Disk functionality to run on the system natively. This is currently in development and will be available in a future release of the software.  To get an update on this update, contact Symantec Encryption Support and mention the following ID:


A PGP Virtual Disk is an area of space, on any disk connected to your computer, which is set aside and encrypted. PGP Virtual Disks are much like a bank vault, and are very useful for protecting sensitive files while the rest of your computer is unlocked for work.

A PGP Virtual Disk looks and acts like an additional hard disk, although it is actually a single file that can reside on any of your computer disks.

PGP Virtual Disks are unlocked and locked by mounting and unmounting them from your computer. PGP Desktop helps manage this operation for you.

To create a new PGP Virtual Disk


  1. Open PGP Desktop and select PGP Disk. The PGP Disk window is displayed.
  2. Click New PGP Virtual Disk.
  3. In the Enter your desired PGP Disk size field, type the amount of space that you want to reserve for the new PGP Virtual Disk. Use whole numbers, with no decimal places. You can also use the arrows to increase or decrease the number displayed in the field. Choose KB (Kilobytes), MB (Megabytes), or GB (Gigabytes) from the menu.
  4. Specify the type of authentication you want to use for the primary user of this PGP Virtual Disk:
  • To protect your PGP Virtual Disk with your keypair, select Public Key.
  • To protect your PGP Virtual Disk with a passphrase, select Passphrase user.
  1. To view or change the advanced options settings, select the Advanced Options checkbox. The Automatically resize PGP Virtual Disk as necessary checkbox is displayed, as well as the Cipher and Format menus.
  2. Click Continue.
  3. The next step depends on whether you chose public key or passphrase authentication.

Public Key Access


  • For public key access, the Select a Public Key to Secure Your PGP Disk screen is displayed, displaying the public keys you can use for authenticating to the PGP Virtual Disk that you are creating.

    Select a key from the list, then click Continue. You are prompted for the passphrase of the key you selected (unless the passphrase is already cached, in which case this step is skipped).

    Enter the appropriate passphrase, then click OK. The Save As dialog box is displayed. Continue with the next step.

Passphrase Access


  • In the Name field, type the name that you would like to assign to the primary PGP Virtual Disk user (or administrator).
  • In the Enter your passphrase field, type the passphrase that you would like to use. The Passphrase Quality bar indicates the strength of the passphrase that you have typed. Select the Show Keystrokes checkbox to see the characters that you are typing, and if you are certain that no one else can see what you are typing.
  • In the Confirm your passphrase field, re-type the passphrase that you would like to use. Click Continue. The Save As dialog box is displayed. Continue with the next step.
  • Select a file name and location for the PGP Virtual Disk, then click Save.
  1. Review the information on the PGP Disk Creation Summary screen. When you are finished, click Create.
  2. The progress of your disk is displayed as your PGP Virtual Disk is created. Once the disk is created, the Congratulations screen is displayed. Click Finish.

Additional Information

153500 - Create PGP Virtual Disks with PGP Desktop 10 for Windows