1

I can reliably convert gpg4win's ascii to binary using Notepad++ option "Base64 Decode" (credit: James K Polk). Works every time.

But when I attempt the reverse, i.e. convert binary to ascii, it works sometimes and does not work other times. Here's how I'm doing it:

  • Open the binary file in Notepad++ and select "Base64 Encode".
  • Manually add the BEGIN/END PGP message lines (-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----)

This works sometimes (i.e. gpg4win can decrypt the resulting file), but fails other times (gpg4win can't decrypt). I am careful to do it exactly the same way each time, making sure there are no white spaces, etc. But it only works sometimes.

How can I get it to work using Notepad++?

Note: I can do the conversion using --enarmor, but I would like to be able to do it with Notepad++. Especially since I can get it to work sometimes, so I know it's possible, and maybe I'm missing a small piece.

  • 1
    With this approach I think you are having difficulties with characters that Notepad++ understands as end-of-line. I don't think this is viable. – harrymc Nov 14 '18 at 17:25
  • 1
    I don't have access to a windows environment so I can't test gpg4win or Notepad++. However, using gpg I have verified that 1) gpg ignores whitespace except that the -----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE----- must end in a newline and the -----END PGP MESSAGE----- must be preceded by a newline. 2) You don't need a comment line, but if you do have one it must be terminated by a newline. 3) You don't need a checksum line, but if you have one it must be preceded by a newline and it must be the correct checksum. – President James K. Polk Nov 14 '18 at 21:01
  • @james-k-polk. Hi James, I could get certutil and even openssl to work (had to add the BEGIN/END lines manually), but Notepad++ doesn't work for encoding. It's works every time for decoding though. – get_going Nov 15 '18 at 0:21
1

Notepad++ is an editor for text files, which are files that end with special binary characters that denote an end-of-line. It will always think that your text-line is found between two end-of-line characters, and will mostly ignore the end-of-line itself in its operations.

This has the potential to destroy the file when converting to Base64, since Notepad++ will convert the text between the end-of-lines, but may cause a problem with not correctly handling the end-of-lines.

In fact, it's pretty amazing for me that this has worked correctly for you for some files, and I can readily understand that it didn't for others.

I think you should really look for another solution than Notepad++ for converting to Base64.

| improve this answer | |
  • After some more attempts I found something interesting. If I decrypt the Base64 encoded file, I get an error (i.imgur.com/jcD4n1b.jpg). BUT, If I copy the contents of the file directly into gpg4win's notepad, it works. – get_going Nov 14 '18 at 19:34
  • You found a method of circumventing the end-of-line problem? I don't know gpg4win so cannot explain why it works. – harrymc Nov 14 '18 at 20:26
  • No I didn't. I just described what I observed, i.e. if I open the Base64 encoded file and copy the contents to gpg4win's notepad, it can decrypt. So I know Notepad++ is doing something right. But if I ask gpg4win to decrypt the file itself, it fails. What reliable alternative you can recommend on Windows? – get_going Nov 14 '18 at 20:30
  • 2
    Microsoft#s certutil can do that (and much more), see this answer for a description. There are many others floating around like this one. – harrymc Nov 14 '18 at 20:39
  • 1
    I agree with this answer. Without thorough investigation, you could say that opening a binary file in a text editor and using a plug-in that expects ascii input is an unreliable solution. I would use gpg --enarmor. certutil generates -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE----- which will prevent gpg from working. – evpo Nov 15 '18 at 2:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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