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I would like to use gpg-agent from cygwin, but installing gpg on cygwin doesn't provide it, and google doesn't have much recent information about this. Is it possible to use gpg-agent under cygwin (with something like keychain), or can I use a "native" windows agent with cygwin's gpg?

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Unfortunately, no (or not yet, as of March 2016). As the following thread from the Cygwin package maintainer for GnuPG suggests, gpg-agent is only available in GnuPG 2 and newer, but Cygwin is packaged with GnuPG 1.4.

On 04/09/2015 12:31, Andrew Schulman wrote:

So, why isn't there a gpg-agent for Cygwin? Any hope of having one some day?

From: Adam Dinwoodie

I suspect simply because nobody has packaged one, and somebody has to do the work to make it available. I doubt anyone would object to you submitting an Intent To Package per https://cygwin.com/setup.html.

On Thu, Sep 03, 2015 at 03:20:45PM -0400, Andrew Schulman wrote:

If that's the only reason, I could certainly look at packaging it. I guess I'd like to hear from Marco first though, the gnupg maintainer, to tell us if there isn't some other reason.

From: Marco Atzeri

for what I know gpg-agent belongs to GnuPG > 2.0 while we have only the classic gnupg-1.4.19

If I remember right GnuPG > 2.0 requires memory protection features that do not exist on cygwin. But I could be wrong.

Regards Marco

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The best solution would be to switch to MobaXterm !

MobaXterm has a keychain–like utility that saves ssh sessions much like mRemote-ng, but is a native Unix terminal for Windows (like Cygwin).

  • Good idea, but I thought MobaXterm's MobAgent feature was intended as an SSH agent for forwarding SSH keys. Can you provide any details about how to set MobaXterm up in a way that it can act as a substitute for GnuPG, or where to find examples or documentation? – Steve HHH Mar 8 '16 at 21:00
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If Cygwin cannot provide a GnuPG > 2.0 due to memory management limitations, you could try looking at the new Microsoft Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to run Bash on Ubuntu on Windows.

From within the Bash shell (running on Ubuntu on Windows 10 via WSL) you have access to the Canonical package repositories and can quickly install things like GnuPG:

apt-get install gnupg
  • GnuPG 2+ runs fine for me in Cygwin. But other packages I use use GnuPG 1, hence the desire for gpg-agent for that version. – Kenny Evitt Aug 15 '16 at 13:49
  • @nwaltham is specifically asking for Cygwin, which is not using apt-get. – not2qubit May 9 '17 at 22:05
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    I read the question, but I am pointing out there's new alternatives to Cygwin now on Windows that provide GNU and *nix toolchains – Christopher May 9 '17 at 23:42
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UPDATE (2018-10-20)

The information below is now obsolete, since as of today the current Cygwin gnupg2 package version is at 2.2.10-1 and the one coming with the most recent gpg4win (3.1.3) is at 2.2.10.


No, there is currently no native Cygwin package for GnuPG 2+. Please file a complaint on their email list. The only way is to follow my installation instructions and soft link the new agents. Be careful as there are several files with similar names, as you don't want to break the native/original gpg used by the package manager and other apps.

$ ls -1 /cygdrive/c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/GnuPG/bin/gpg*

gpg.exe'*
gpg-agent.exe'*
gpgconf.exe'*
gpg-connect-agent.exe'*
gpgme-w32spawn.exe'*
gpg-preset-passphrase.exe'*
gpgsm.exe'*
gpgtar.exe'*
gpgv.exe'*
gpg-wks-client.exe'*

$ ls -1 /usr/bin/gpg*

gpg.exe*
gpgsplit.exe*
gpgv.exe*
gpg-zip*

The bare minimum to link are:

$ ln -s /cygdrive/c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/GnuPG/bin/gpg.exe /usr/bin/gpg2
$ ln -s /cygdrive/c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/GnuPG/bin/gpg-agent.exe /usr/bin/gpg-agent

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