Lost passphrase: can't revoke key or UserID

Vic's Avatar


11 Mar, 2017 05:09 PM


I have unfortunately lost my passphrase. What do I do in order to re-install GPG in an action that does not require the old passphrase. I can't revoke the key or the user ID without being asked to type the passphrase that I forgot.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



  1. 1 Posted by Hans Freitag on 12 Mar, 2017 12:45 AM

    Hans Freitag's Avatar

    I can only tell you about gpg itself.

    Unfortunately there is no easy way around the key passphrase, because it purpose is to protect your private key by encrypting it.

    Typically these user passphrases do provide some attack surface, because you can technically guess them as often as you want and as fast as you can. Thats why it is called a passphrase.

    Some users might have used passphrases that are to short in length, or maybe you even remember some parts so you only have to guess the parts of your password you definately don't know.

    So long as there is no bug in the private key encryption found, or someone alse has a better idea, you might have to write a program that brute forces password and let it run.

  2. Support Staff 2 Posted by Steve on 16 Mar, 2017 10:05 AM

    Steve's Avatar

    Hey Vic,

    welcome to the GPGTools support platform. Sorry you are having problems using GPG Suite.

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

    If you are unable to revoke the key, we suggest to deactivate but keep the key in GPG Keychain.

    All the best,

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Steve on 24 May, 2017 04:27 PM

    Steve's Avatar

    Closing, since no further user feedback was received. Should your problem persist, feel free to re-open this discussion any time.

    All the best, steve

  4. Steve closed this discussion on 24 May, 2017 04:27 PM.

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