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How to disassociate .p12 files from Symantec Encryption Desktop


Article ID: 198851


Updated On:


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Symantec Encryption Desktop allows integration with certificates for Email Encryption using x.509 certificates.

There are various certificate types, such as .p12, .cer, .crt, .p7b, .pfx and others.

Once Symantec Encryption Desktop is installed, some of these certificate types will then be associated to opening with Symantec Encryption Desktop as can be observed in the following screenshot:


  If this is not desired, you can disassociate the certificates so they no longer open with Symantec Encryption Desktop.  This article will show you how to do that on Windows 10.


In this example, we will use the extension .p12 to disassociate from Symantec Encryption Desktop so that upon double-clicking the file, it will not longer be imported into the client.  Manually importing the certificate into the certificate store will then be recommended.

This is what the file looks like when Symantec Encryption Desktop is associated here:


Step 1. Open c:\windows\system32 and right-click on "notepad.exe" and click copy.  

Step 2. Make a folder on the system, such as "Newfolder" and then copy notepad.exe into this folder.

Step 3. Rename the notepad.exe in the new location to "notepad2.exe".

Step 4. Right-click on the .p12 file and select "Open with":



Step 5: Select one of the following depending on which option you see:

Important: Make sure you check the box to "Always use this app to open .p12 files":

Possible option 1:

Possible option 2:


Step 6: Next, find the new location where you copied the notepad2.exe and select it so when you open a .p12 file, it will attempt to open with notepad instead.

Once you do this look at the .p12 file and it should now look different:

Step 7: Next, delete the notepad2.exe and then reboot the machine.  The file association should no longer be used for Symantec Encryption Desktop.


At this point, it is recommended to open the certificate store itself (such as certmgr.msc) and import directly from there rather than double-clicking on the file.  Choose the appropriate certificate store location using the "Action\All Tasks\Import" menu.