I need to make an encrypted file on a PC that I can burn to CD and give a mac user who wants to decrypt it without having to install a program? is this even possible? thanks

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    Just look for a cross-platform encryption program... Explain how are you going to encrypt the file in Windows, as that isn't clear. – Doktoro Reichard Oct 8 '13 at 22:01
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    You don't need a self-decrypting file, you just need a file that both OSX and Windows support out of the box, like the ZIP format that Tony suggested – david25272 Oct 8 '13 at 22:24

The only way I know of is by putting the file inside a ZIP archive with password.
These can be unpacked with the standard unzip on the Mac.
Anything else requires addon software on the Mac.


Safest way would be truecrypt.
It has a portable mode so you won't have to install software.

Here are the instructions to make Truecrypt portable for the Mac. (by dragging the ".app" to your cd/usb).

Otherwise you'll need to use software which is standard on both computers.

Is "zipping" it with a password not an option?

If you are going to use a zip with password make sure to use the strongest encryption available to both systems. The older encryption methods are relatively weak.

  • Does the portable mode work on OSX, too? – ChrisInEdmonton Oct 8 '13 at 21:33
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    Yep. Just added the info/link to my answer. You'll need to extract the .app for the mac and send it with the .tc container with your data. – Rik Oct 8 '13 at 21:35
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    @ChrisInEdmonton Yes. You can even put the TrueCrypt portable OSX and Windows binaries both on the same CD together with the TrueCrypt volume. ZIP with password is probably easier to explain to the receiver though,,,, – Tonny Oct 8 '13 at 21:36

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