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Private Key suddenly not on keyring?

Created: 27 May 2011 | 2 comments

I've only been using PGP Desktop a few weeks.  I had created my public key and provided it for someone to use to send me files.  This worked well for a few transmissions, and then all of a sudden when I went to decrypt a file today I got an error message that there was no usable private key corresponding with my public key (which had been used to encrypt the file).  I haven't deleted anything, this is the same PC I've been using, etc., so I'm confused about why it would suddenly be gone.

I did not have a backup of the private key, so I gather than I am out of luck in recreating it, right?  I'll have to generate a new pair to use?

Without knowing what happened, I'm worried my private key will disappear again.  Can you point me toward best-practice documentation about creating and restoring from a backup?

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Tom Mc's picture

I suspect that your private key just somehow lost its Implicit Trust status.  Please right click on your key in All Keys of PGP Desktop, select Properties, and if Trust is not set to Implicit, use the down arrow to set it to Implicit.

As far as backing up your private key, I'd suggest first making sure you have PGP Options - Keys tab set to Back Up Keys When Exiting PGP Desktop.  Next, in PGP Desktop All Keys, right click on your key and select Export, place a check in the box to include your Private Key, set a save location, and click the Save button.  You may also want to save it to removable media such as a floppy, CD, or USB drive in case your hard disk should go bad. Of course, you want to only save your private key to a location where no one else has access to it.

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Tom Mc's picture

I hope this was helpful.

When you consider your issue resolved, please click Mark As Solution on the most helpful response.

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