GPG Mail can't decrypt message

Sometimes things go wrong and a message is not decrypted. You will likely see an error message above the encrypted email stating Secret key to decrypt the message is missing.

Various circumstances can cause this error with the most likely being, that the message author used the wrong public key to encrypt the message in question. Since the corresponding secret key does not exist on your system, you are unable to decrypt.

How can this happen?

When multiple public keys for your email address exist, your contact may be using an old key of yours, which you have replaced a while ago.

Or your secret key got lost on your local machine. This can happen after moving to a new computer but forgetting to transfer your secret keys. In that case you would need to recover your secret keys from a backup.

How to procced?

Make sure you have only one valid sec/pub key for your email address in GPG Keychain. Older keys which you no longer use should be revoked or disabled if revocation is not possible.

We recommend to upload and verify your current key on the key server.

To ensure your contact is using the correct public key of yours, we suggest to verify and sign each others public keys.