Key from smartcard to disk

Werner Koch wk at
Wed Sep 21 07:28:24 CEST 2005

On Tue, 20 Sep 2005 22:09:55 +0200, Patrick  said:

> i have a problem with the g10 OpenPGP card. I have key on the Card, but
> not on harddisk. I don't have the secret key and don't have the pubic
> key. How do i import keys from the card? And how can i encrypt or decrypt

You mean, how to copy the secret key from the card to the disk?  The
asnwer ist simple: You can't.  This is the major security feature of

It is possible to read out the public key, though.  However it does
not help you much because these are only a few numbers without any
other information.  When gpg generated the key on the card it also
created this other data and stored it in your regular keyring on
disk. If you lost this keyring, you basically lost your key.  It is
possible to reconstruct so that the fingerprint stays the same but we
have no instant way of doing so. It is easier to generate a new key
then.  I assume that you did not send the key to a keyserver in which
case you would be able to restore the key by 

  gpg --recv-key <fingerprint as show on the card>



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