System Crash (Lost Secret Key) - can I recover the secret key by just having the public key and passphrase?

b.mastel's Avatar


15 Sep, 2023 01:48 PM

If I download my PUB key can and know my secret passphrase can I convert the PUB to a secret for future use?

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Steve on 15 Sep, 2023 04:31 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    Hi b.,

    thanks for taking the time to report this problem. We are sorry that GPG Suite is causing problems for you.

    This KB-article explains what to do if you lost access to your secret key.

    Sadly if you do not have a backup of your secret key (i.e. either specifically a backup of your key or a backup of your entire mac), the public key and passphrase alone will not be able to re-generate your secret key. That would be a major security problem, so it is not possible.

    All the best,

  2. 2 Posted by b.mastel on 15 Sep, 2023 05:27 PM

    b.mastel's Avatar

    That was my expectation. Can I setup a NEW key for the same email and have my staff stop using the old one? We just bought the upgrade of GPG for this staff member...


    Bruce Mastel
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  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Steve on 15 Sep, 2023 05:46 PM

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    You can always create a new key. Make sure to upload the new key to the key server and verify the email address of that key via the verification email.

    I'd recommend sending a brief email to all contacts informing about the new key and maybe attaching the public key part.

    Otherwise contacts may continue using the old key which will result in emails that cannot be decrypted (obviously due to the missing secret key).

    Sorry I don't have an easier solution. But that should do the trick.

    Hope this helps,

  4. Steve closed this discussion on 27 Sep, 2023 03:58 PM.

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