key question

John Clizbe John at
Thu Feb 25 01:17:36 CET 2010

Tobias Holz wrote:
> Hey Folks,
> i successfully installed gnupg on my Win7 machine. I want to use it
> with Thunderbird to encrypt personal eMails.
> 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 secret key or forget your passphrase and cannot recover them,
you are toast. There is no way to recover either except from a backup copy.
CD/DVD is one method. You may also want to take a look at paperkey,

While you are saving your secret key, generate a revocation certificate and save
it with the key rings on the CD and/or print it out with the paperkey copy.
You'll need it if you ever lose your secret key or forget your passphrase, and
cannot recover either of them.

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

XP & earlier: C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\GnuPG\

Vista & Windows 7: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\GnuPG\

The file you need to save is secring.gpg. The files are small enough, you should
also save a copy of pubring.gpg and trustdb.gpg.

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

Not heard of it that extension. Lots of folks use the Enigmail extension.
"something_stands_here' is known as the key ID. There is no benefit to keeping
it secret.

It is also a good idea to send your key to the keyservers.

John P. Clizbe                      Inet:John (a)
You can't spell fiasco without SCO. hkp://  or
     mailto:pgp-public-keys at

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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