signing failed with master key when I have stronger subkeys

Peter Lebbing peter at
Fri Aug 14 16:06:56 CEST 2015

On 14/08/15 14:45, Dongsheng Song wrote:
> D:\>gpg  -u "7547A8A9\!" --clearsign relay.txt
> gpg: skipped "7547A8A9\!": No secret key
> gpg: relay.txt: clearsign failed: No secret key

I think the escape of the exclamation mark might not be correct for Windows
shell usage.

> D:\>gpg  -u "7547A8A9!" --clearsign relay.txt
> gpg: skipped "7547A8A9!": Unusable secret key
> gpg: relay.txt: clearsign failed: Unusable secret key

This would probably be the correct form for Windows. But: is that subkey
actually encryption capable or is it an encryption subkey?

What about

D:\>gpg -u "46D397FF!" --clearsign relay.txt


You can see what your (sub)keys are capable of as follows:

D:\>gpg --edit-key 46D397FF
pub [...] usage: SC
sub [...] usage: S
sub [...] usage: E

The primary key can sign and certify, the first subkey can sign and the second
can encrypt.



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You can send me encrypted mail if you want some privacy.
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