three computers and one secret key?

Robert J. Hansen rjh at
Wed Sep 27 02:21:46 CEST 2006

Hash: SHA512

Robert T Wyatt wrote:
> So what am I supposed to be doing? Assuming it can be done, how do I
> export my secret key for use on other computers? Do I have to use a
> memory stick or other portable device to make this work? Is it possible
> (and prudent) to put it on a server somewhere in a secure fashion?

Open up a Terminal window (Terminal is in your Applications/Utilities
folder) and type the following:

gpg --armor --export-secret-key [your key ID] > priv.asc
gpg --armor --export [your key ID] > pub.asc
mkdir mykeys
mv priv.asc pub.asc mykeys
zip -r ~/Desktop/ mykeys
rm -rf mykeys

This will create a zipfile on your desktop called  Copy that
to your other machines and unzip it there.  You'll find inside it the
files "pub.asc" and "priv.asc".

On your other Macs, copy it to your desktop and unzip it.  Then open up
another Terminal window there and type:

gpg --import-secret-key ~/Desktop/mykeys/priv.asc
gpg --import ~/Desktop/mykeys/pub.asc
gpg --edit-key [your key ID] trust

This last line will start up a GnuPG key edit menu.  Type '5', then 'y',
then type 'save'.

Your key is now copied to your other Mac, and trusted on your other
machine, too.

WARNING: I'm giving you shell commands here.  Do not _ever_ follow
random shell commands you get from unknown people on the Internet.  You
can really screw up your computer that way.  Wait for other people on
the list to take a look at what I'm telling you to do, and wait for a
consensus as to whether I'm giving you good advice or bad advice.

And yes, there really are such losers on the Internet as who try to get
people to do stupid things that will damage their own machine.

That said, Terminal is an incredibly powerful and useful tool, and it's
worth your time to learn it, if you haven't already.  :)

Version: GnuPG v1.4.5 (Darwin)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla -


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