Problem removing a public key whose private key is gone

Christoph Anton Mitterer cam at
Wed Mar 8 18:42:15 CET 2006

Jeremiah Foster wrote:

>Hey Chris, 
>Yeah I saw that from the man page and it did not help. Specifically
>because the names are identical and when you issue --delete-key name you
>get prompted to specify the secret key which does not exist in my case.
>So delete-key fails to work for my needs.
If you'd read the other parts of the manpage you'd see that name is not
only limited to your name or the UIDs email adress but you can also
specify one of the key IDs.

You'll get the key IDs of you keys with gpg --list-keys. They (should)
key ID should be different for both of your keys, if not, you'll have to
use the long key ID, but that is pretty unlikely.
If even the long key IDs would be equal - that should be even posted to
the list because it is an rarety - you'd have to use the fingerprint of
the key as name (if even those would be equal,.. this would be nearly a
sensation ;) ).

So take the key ID of you old unwanted key (something like 0x23459837)
and make gpg --delete-key <key-id>.


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