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Proofpoint, Inc.

Error opening encrypted emails and attachments

  • Having an issue with opening an encrypted email
  • Problem with downloading an attachment
  • Logging into the Encryption portal
  • Reviewing attachments

Logging into the Encryption Portal

Getting to an Encrypted Email

Users can get to the encryption portal in one of 2 ways:

  • Log in directly at:
  • Click on the link provided in the notification email.
    • This will force them to log into the above URL

When logging in, users may receive an error about a message being expired:


You are trying to access a message that has expired, or you do not have permission to view the message. Log out and log back in as the user who received the notification.

This error is given due to one of three problems:

  • The message has reached its 15 days expiration
  • The sender removed the encrypted email (see Delete Encrypted Email KB)
  • You are not logged into the correct account to view this message.

For Senders: Check Recipient Address

Check the logs (permalink) to see exactly what email address received the encrypted email. 

Only the specific recipient email address can log in and see this encrypted email. 

  • A distribution group address would need to be registered in order for everyone to log in as that distribution group to see. They are unable to use their personal address, as that was not the email address Proofpoint delivered to.
  • An alias address cannot log into the portal. This is considered a separate account and will not allow access to the message. 

Downloading Attachments

The most common issue we run into with attachments is seeing winmail.dat as the attachment. This is an issue with the sender side using a Microsoft system, and the Proofpoint Essentials servers cannot read the RTF format that Outlook used to send the email in currently.  Downloading the attachment can be done, but does not decode properly when attempting to open it, as the full email is required. See also Preventing WINMAIL.DAT attachments

Getting the full email

Unfortunately, due to security, the full message cannot be download, as this was encrypted. 

Winmail.dat Problem

The winmail.dat issue is due to how the message is sent by the Microsoft system. This is dictated by several factors:

  • RTF format sending
  • Local sending recognition by the Outlook system 
  • Exchange recognition of delivery format.