key question

Jesús Díaz Vico jesus.diaz.vico at
Thu Feb 25 01:45:43 CET 2010

Hash: SHA1

Tobias Holz escribió:
> Hey Folks,
> i succesfully installed gnupg on my Win7 machine. I want to use it
> with Thunderbird to encrypt personal eMails.

I'm not a Windows user, so I'll explain what I'll do in Linux, but I
suppose it'll be pretty similar and you shouldn't have much problems...
If I'm mistaken in something, I'm sure somebody will correct me.

> Now I've got some questions:
> 1) What does happen if I lose my private key? Can I burn it to a CD/DVD?

If you lose your private key and you don't have a backup, then it means
you won't be able to decipher messages ciphered with your public key or
sign messages (at least not with the keypair you lost). You can burn it
to a CD/DVD or copy it to any other storage device if you previously
export it to a file, but, and quoting from gpg man page, that might not
be a good idea (in security terms):


              Same as --export, but exports the secret keys instead.
        	      This is normally not very useful and a security risk.

So, if you are going to copy it somewhere, first make sure that the
CD/DVD or whatever will be safe (in a degree depending on your needs, of

> 2) Where can I find the key, I just got the passphrase?

You can list all the keys you have in your system with gpg --list-keys
option, once you've identified the key you want to export, you can
export it with gpg --output <file> --export <key_id> (for the public
key) and gpg --ouput <file> --export-private-keys <key_id> for the
private key.

With the OpenPGP plugin for Thunderbird, if you go to "OpenPGP > Key
Management", you can see the keys OpenPGP is aware of, and you can
export any one of them right clicking on it, and you can import a new
key from a file in "File > Import Keys from File".

> I generated the Keys with OpenPGP-Plugin for Thunderbird. I got the
> public key (something_stands_here.asc) and encryption works fine :)
> Hopefully looking forward
> Tobias

Hope that helps.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla -


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