Changing preferences

David Shaw dshaw at
Thu Sep 18 06:43:21 CEST 2008

On Sep 17, 2008, at 5:21 PM, Faramir wrote:

> I have modified my preferences in gpg.conf, but my key was generated
> before making those changes... when I use showpref command, the cypher
> algorithms are shown in the right order according to gpg.conf, but the
> digest order is not in the right order... how can I make my keys to  
> show
> my preferred algos and how to check they are in the right order?

You say you modified your preferences in gpg.conf - how?  There are a  
few things regarding preferences in gpg.conf, but few of them impact  

Showpref shows what the preferences are on the key itself.  These are  
the preferences that other users who are encrypting to you will use  
for you.  Obviously, your gpg.conf cannot be consulted by the other  
users :)

If you want to alter the list of preferences on your key, do this:

  gpg --edit-key (thekey)
  setpref aes256 sha512 bzip2 blah blah blah

Put the algorithms you like best first in the list, and you can freely  
mix cipher, hash, and compression algorithms.  You can also use "mdc",  
"no-mdc", "ks-modify", and "no-ks-modify" to enable and disable the  
MDC and keyserver modify flags.  MDC defaults to on, ks-modify  
defaults to off (i.e. don't allow modification).

Note that you can specify a different set of preferences for each user  
ID.  This is a handy feature, as it lets you express things like "I  
want to use AES256 for home stuff, but my work address requires 3DES  
by policy".


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