"It is not possible to decrypt this message..."

Article:TECH148934  |  Created: 2006-04-15  |  Updated: 2014-01-31  |  Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH148934
Article Type
Technical Solution



When you attempt to decrypt a file or email, you receive the error message:

It is not possible to decrypt this message because your keyring does not contain usable private key(s)... 




The underlying cause of this error message is that Encryption Desktop (previously PGP Desktop) does not have access to the private key needed for decryption. This could be due to any of the following:

  • The sender simply encrypted the file or email using the wrong public key
  • You have not properly transferred your private key or keyrings from another computer
  • You have deleted or lost the private key needed for decryption


This article describes several common scenarios in which this error might occur, and points to other answers that provide possible resolutions. To begin, you should determine whether Encryption Desktop actually has your keypair. This can be done by just looking at your key's icon.

  1. Click the PGP Tray lock icon in your system tray and then click Open Encryption Desktop:
  2. Click PGP Keys in the control box.
  3. Select the keyring that contains your key:
  4. Now locate your key inside the window on the right.  Based on your key's icon, complete either of the steps below.


Legacy ID


Article URL http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH148934

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