Question on Putty and gpg-agent

Peter Lebbing peter at
Sun Apr 30 20:41:38 CEST 2017

On 12/04/17 22:42, Antony Prince wrote:
> Before I added
> "disable-scdaemon", gpg-agent would complain that it couldn't find the
> key on the card (I've never had one). Since adding that option, that
> error has gone away, but it still does not work and gpg-agent doesn't
> provide any helpful output.

I don't think you're telling gpg-agent "that key is not on a card".
You're telling it "you can't work with cards". Consequently, the little
guy or girl living in the code of gpg-agent goes "Hmmm, this is a key on
a card. I can't work with a card. I can't work with this key." I think
you were hoping it would think "let's look elsewhere", but it likely
will not do so.

It is a decidedly different behaviour than gpg-agent on Linux. There, it
will check if a smartcard is currently connected and if so, offer such a
key for authentication. For SSH, it will *never ask* to insert a card!
It'll just skip it outright. So it seems gpg-agent is doing entirely
different things on Windows. Does it even support on-disk authentication
keys or is it smartcard-only? I don't know, I haven't used Windows for
anything other than games for very long. I did read the release notes
when Putty support was introduced, and it only discussed smartcard keys,
but that isn't conclusive proof it only supports smartcard keys.



I use the GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) in combination with Enigmail.
You can send me encrypted mail if you want some privacy.
My key is available at <>

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