gpg troubles

Roland Siemons (P) Siemons at
Fri Oct 12 10:37:38 CEST 2018

Dear GnuPG experts,

1/ Thanks and compliments to those who make GnuPG possible!
2/ I am a very ordinary end-user who unfortunately cannot fall back to
computer experts easily in his vicinity. One of those for whom forum
assistance and manuals are very important.
3/ Assisted remotely by some of you, I was able to sort out a very
strange problem with decryption. The solution was found by manipulating
my key from inside the gpg shell using the command line. I am not very
experienced with the command line. A major difficulty for those for whom
this is not daily bread and butter is that mistakes are easily made.
Hence the great value of GUIs.
4/ I observed some unclarities in the GnuPG manual
(, here below under A. And perhaps also
some bugs in gpg, here below under B (please consider). Here is my

A/ I tried to revoke some subkeys, following the said manual (heading
"Revoking key components"). gpg pretended to do the job. Everything
looked fine. But it did'nt! After several hours of analysis (up to
checking if GnuPG was installed consistently on my system), I found the
issue: After the revkey procedure it is necessary to command "quit".
Instead of quitting, gpg then asks "do you want to save yr changes" (or
something like that). And only then the subkeys were revoked. The said
manual does mention the command "quit" only once, and not even in a
general place explaining the operations of gpg, and in fact without any
explanation as to the impact of that command. Of course I am happy to
have found out, but let's hope that I remember when after perhaps 2
years time I have to use gpg shell again....

B/ It is not at all clear to me how to start the gpg shell. For example:
1/ if (under the CMD terminal) I command "gpg -K", the lists of private
keys is returned, but I am also returned to CMD, that is, kicked out of
the gpg shell.
2/ if (CMD) I command "gpg --edit-key X" (where X is key identifier), I
do indeed enter the gpg shell, the screen showing "gpg>".
That all may be allright, HOWEVER:
3/ if (CMD) I command "gpg", the return is: "gpg: WARNING: no command
supplied.  Trying to guess what you mean ... <RETURN> gpg: Go ahead and
type your message . <RETURN>
Then if I type a gpg command, everything stalls. No results whatsoever.
Even the command "quit" gives no results. So I force quit by Ctrl-C.
So, in general, how to start the gpg shell?
(FYI: the Windows Powershell ISE shows more weird behaviour than the CMD

This is my system:
gpg --version
gpg (GnuPG) 2.2.10
libgcrypt 1.8.2

I hope that the above could be of some use to the developers.

Best regards

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