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When i sent an encrypted mail, i was surprised that the copy in sent-mail was not encrypted. Checking with a testmail, the mail is sent encrypted, but the copy in the sent-mail folder is plain text, which is bad for storing mails with sensible content.

A workaround could be, to disable Fcc and set myself as Bcc, but that's no clean solution.

related question about drafts: Making Mutt GPG encrypt emails saved as drafts

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That's weird. I recently sent some GnuPG encrypted emails using Mutt (so pretty much exactly your situation), and the copies in my sent-mail folder were stored encrypted, as they have been for as long as I can remember. I checked my .muttrc and don't seem to have anything unusual GPG/PGP-related in it. Are you sure Mutt isn't just caching the decryption key's passphrase? What is the output from :set ?pgp_timeout, and does it still appear to be saved unencrypted after you restart Mutt? – Michael Kjörling Sep 1 '13 at 20:00
absolutely sure. Running mutt with this config: – allo Sep 2 '13 at 22:09
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Actually Mutts default behavior is to first encrypt/sign and then fcc, hence your copy in the "Sent" folder should be encrypted. But, of course, you can change this by setting

set fcc_clear = yes

Search your .muttrc and files sourced therein for this line and change it to 'no'.


This said, you likely want to use --encrypt-to as explained by sleske. By default mutt keeps a copy which you can not decrypt. ;)

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Thank you. I really had this option set in my .muttrc and did not see that this one was causing the problem. – allo May 1 '14 at 9:12

First: Keeping a copy of the mail, encrypted as you sent it, would be pointless. Keep in mind that you are using public key cryptography: You encrypt with the recipient's public key, and only the recipient can decrypt. So a copy of the sent mail would be unreadable to you.

What you can do is to encrypt the copy with your own public key. For example, you could use gpg's option --encrypt-to name with your own public key:

--encrypt-to name:

Same as --recipient but this one is intended for in the options file and may be used together with an own user-id as an "encrypt-to-self". These keys are only used when there are other recipients given either by use of --recipient or by the asked user id. No trust checking is performed for these user ids and even disabled keys can be used.

For detailed instructions, see .

That said, I'm not sure there is much of a point in keeping sent mails in encrypted form. This only makes sense if you are worried that someone might read the contents of your hard disk / home directory. If that is the case, then there is probably much more to be protected than your sent mails (such as all your documents).

If you want to protect your local files, I believe full disk encryption (or at least an encrypted home directory) is the only sensible solution.

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to the first part of the answer: i do already encrypt-to myself additional to the recipient, as its a good practice (in most cases). To the second point: when the computer storing the sent-mail folder is compromized, it would be better to have the sensible mails stored encrypted. Security is not black or white, the more of the leaked data is encrypted, the better the situation. And the sent-mail folder is on another computer than other private data. And wouldn't it be misleading for the recipient, when the message is encrypted, but a unencrypted copy is stored somewhere? – allo Aug 26 '13 at 22:43

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