Gnupg-users Digest, Vol 115, Issue 11

Steven C. Morreale, M.D./M.P.H. gnupg.mdmph at
Fri Apr 12 11:18:46 CEST 2013

Hash: SHA1

On 4/11/13 4:13 AM, gnupg-users-request at wrote:
> Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2013 15:05:46 +0930 From: Ashley Holman 
> <dscvlt at> To: gnupg-users at Subject: Backing up 
> Private Keys Message-ID: 
> <CAOXABZrWAuxWGuqGm7Y48+zF1jp84V1Y-wpLRcJHZi9Um6n2AQ at>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> Hi all,
> When I export my private key using `gpg --export-secret-key 
> --armor', and then delete all of my keys and re-impot from the 
> exported secret key, it seems to give me both the public and 
> private key back.  Does this mean that the public key is exported 
> along with the private key?
> I'm just trying to work out whether I need to export both the 
> public and private keys or if --export-secret-key is enough.
> Thanks very much Ash

Hello Ash,

I just happened to be looking through the GPG USERS message digest and
saw this post.  Excited, I realized I knew the answer!

Welcome to GNU Privacy Guard!
Your secret keys are able to recreate the public key, but not vice-versa.
So if you need to share a public key with someone, export your public
key and share it or put it on or the key server.

Your secret key should always be backed up and never shared... it is
all you need, you don't need to "back-up" your public key (which is
worthless without the secret key to go with it on your computer(s)).

I hope this helps you.

- -Steve

Version: GnuPG/MacGPG2 v2.0.18 (Darwin)
Comment: GPGTools -
Comment: Using GnuPG with Thunderbird -

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