Setpref is not working or is it a bug or something?

Robin Mathew Rajan mail at
Tue Nov 25 20:43:42 CET 2014

No bro. You got me wrong. :(

I referred these two manuals before I made the change in gpg.conf.


"--default-preference-list string
    Set the list of default preferences to string. This preference list is used for new keys and becomes the default for "setpref" in the edit menu."


"Re: Difference between setpref and options in the configuration [In reply to]
On Sun, Feb 9, 2014 at 2:39 PM, Stephane Bortzmeyer <bortzmeyer [at] nic> wrote:
> When reading
> <>, which
> advises to use gpg --edit-key and setpref to choose "better"
> algorithms, I told myself "Why risking forgetting the right
> command-line when you can simply use the configuration file?" So, I
> put this in ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf :
> # SHA1 by default
> cert-digest-algo SHA256
> # Crypto preferences
> personal-cipher-preferences AES256 AES192 AES128
> personal-digest-preferences SHA512 SHA384 SHA256 SHA224
> personal-compress-preferences ZLIB BZIP2 ZIP Uncompressed
> And generated a key, with two UID. But it seems the preferences in
> personal-*-preferences have been completely ignored:

That's because the personal-*-preferences don't change the preferences
in the key itself. They merely change the order of ciphers, hashes,
and compression methods that you prefer when communicating with others
(so long as you both support those algorithms).

According to
you'll want to use "default-preference-list" followed by the list of
preferences for your key. For example, putting
"default-preference-list SHA512 SHA384 SHA256 SHA224 AES256 AES192 AES
CAST5 ZLIB BZIP2 ZIP Uncompressed" in your gpg.conf file and then
generating a new key (or running "edit-key KEYID", "setpref" with an
empty string for the preferences, and "save" on an existing key) will
set the key preferences to that string.


Those are the two manuals I mainly referred before editing the gpg.conf.

The backup file was made after the changes made in the key. It's not made before I edited the gpg.conf and used setpref. The backup file is made after I used the setpref option.

And that's why I'm confused about it. Even though the backup file was made after the changes made in the key, why the properties set by setpref are not included in the key? I'm confused. :(

On 25-11-2014 PM 08:23, Robert J. Hansen wrote:
>> Why this happening and what is the solution to it?
> The preferences list in gpg.conf are your preferences for what you use 
> for the mail you compose to others; the preferences list on your key are 
> your preferences for what you'd like other people to use for the mail 
> they compose to you.
> They represent two different things, which you seem to have conflated 
> together.  I think this will resolve a good half of your questions.
> The other half can be resolved by asking this question: "When I changed 
> my key preferences, then deleted the key, and restored it from a backup 
> I made before I changed my key preferences, how could the backup know 
> about the changes I made *after* I made the backup?"
> :)

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