gpg: decryption failed: secret key not available

Doug Barton dougb at
Mon Nov 16 23:30:33 CET 2009

> I hope someone can help.  I can encrypt files for our vendor but they cannot decrypt as it errors to secret key not available.  I signed the vendors public key after I imported it into the unix system.  Any ideas?

Likely 1 of 3 problems:
1. You're not encrypting it to their key
2. They public key they sent you does not match the private key they
have on their end
3. The person trying to decrypt the file does not have pgp set up
properly and/or does not have access to the private key.

I would start debugging this by asking the person to send me a list of
the key ids and fingerprints of the private keys that their pgp
program can "see" and compare that to what you have.

Good luck,



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