Wiping HD (noob question)

John Clizbe John at Mozilla-Enigmail.org
Fri Jan 23 12:38:33 CET 2009

Dan Bensen wrote:
> What do I have to do to keep my current gpg authentication if I reformat
> the hard drive it's installed on and reinstall gpg with a new OS?  I'm
> not sure where the authentication info is stored or how (or whether) it
> can be moved. 

Open a command prompt and issue the command:

      gpg --version

It'll print several lines similar to:

jpclizbe at yogi:/var/sks$ gpg --version
gpg (GnuPG) 1.4.9
Copyright (C) 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <http://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it.
There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

Home: ~/.gnupg
Supported algorithms:
Hash: MD5, SHA1, RIPEMD160, SHA256, SHA384, SHA512, SHA224
Compression: Uncompressed, ZIP, ZLIB, BZIP2
jpclizbe at yogi:/var/sks$

You're interested in the line beginning "Home:". Copy that directory to your
backup media before reformatting.

On Windows 2000/XP, you should see something similar to:

Home: C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\GnuPG

On Vista this is typically C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\GnuPG

Windows, Linux, Mac OS,... just copy the entire directory.

If space is tight, at a minimum, you need the files with a .gpg extension in
that directory: pubring.gpg, secring.gpg, trustdb.gpg. If you have a file named
gpg.conf, it contains any customized settings and should also be preserved.

John P. Clizbe                      Inet:John (a) Mozilla-Enigmail.org
You can't spell fiasco without SCO. hkp://keyserver.gingerbear.net  or
     mailto:pgp-public-keys at gingerbear.net?subject=HELP

Q:"Just how do the residents of Haiku, Hawai'i hold conversations?"
A:"An odd melody / island voices on the winds / surplus of vowels"

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