Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My computer with Ubuntu broke and have a backup from that (Déjá Dup). Now i want to restore my public and private keys to a Thunderbird installation in Windows 8.

There's this .ssh folder inside the Ubuntu home folder. Are my keys there?

Inside the .ssh folder there are the following files:

  • id_rsa
  • id_rsa_backup
  • A config and a known_host file.

When importing keys from file in OpenPGP an Alert says: "Importing the keys failed"

Renamed id_rsa to id_rsa.asc. Same error.

share|improve this question
up vote 0 down vote accepted

There are some keys in your ~/.ssh folder - but definitively not the ones you're looking for: These are for SSH authentication. The key's you're looking for are stored in your ~/.gnupg folder, namely

  • ~/.gnupg/pubring.gpg for your public keys
  • ~/.gnupg/secring.gpg for your private keys

With Thunderbird, you're probably using Enigmail for OpenPGP encryption. Enigmail also uses GnuPG, so you can possibly just drop all that files in your new GnuPG folder (if you're overwriting anything, make sure you're not loosing any keys! If you're not sure where this folder is on your windows installation, run gpg --version which also dumps the GnuPG home directory.

share|improve this answer
Thanks Jens. I dropped all the files from .gnupg to gnupg. Now i can read the encrypted mail and the recipients confirmed they get my key properly. I still getting this error when trying to read my sent messeges: "Error - secret key needed to decrypt message" – Ventolinmono Jun 21 '13 at 22:43
Found out how to read my sent messages: OpenPGP Preferences > Sending > Add my own key to the recipients list (checked). – Ventolinmono Jun 28 '13 at 3:32

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.