HOW TO: Export PGP Keys in Encryption Desktop for Windows

Article:TECH149508  |  Created: 2009-08-07  |  Updated: 2013-10-07  |  Article URL
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Technical Solution



This article details how to export keys in Encryption Desktop (previously PGP Desktop) for Windows.


Exporting your keypair and public key allow you to backup your keypair as well as distribute your public key to recipients to encrypt to. If you lose your key and do not have a backed up copy from which to restore your key, you will never again be able to decrypt any information encrypted to your key.

PGP keys are exported as .asc files.


Export PGP Keys

There are several methods available to export keys out of PGP Desktop. These methods include:

Export within Encryption Desktop

  1. Open Encryption Desktop.
  2. Click PGP Keys.
  3. Highlight the PGP key you wish to export, then select the File menu and click Export > Key. You can also right-click on the key you wish to export and click Export in the drop down menu.
  4. When the Export Key to File window appears, select a location to export the key, then click Save. The key will then be exported as an .asc file to the location you specified.

    Note: This will only export the public key. If you wish to include the private key to backup your key, select the Include Private Key(s) box in the lower left corner.

Send to method within Encryption Desktop - (Public key only)

  1. Open Encryption Desktop.
  2. Click PGP Keys.
  3. Right-click the key you wish to export then select Send To from the drop-down list.
  4. You may send the public key to a keyserver listed in the drop down list, a smart card, or to mail recipient. If you choose a mail recipient, a new mail message will open and automatically attach the public key.

Drag and Drop Method - (Public key only)

  1. Open PGP Desktop.
  2. Click PGP Keys.
  3. Click and drag the key outside of the PGP Desktop window. You may drag the file to your Desktop or a drive/folder of your choice.

Copy Public Key Block

  1. Open PGP Desktop.
  2. Click PGP Keys.
  3. Right-click the key to export, then select Copy Public Key.
  4. You can then paste the key block of the public key to a text file.

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