HOW TO: Back up (Export) PGP Keypairs - Symantec Encryption Desktop for Windows


Article ID: 180222


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This article describes how to backup a PGP keypair.


A PGP keypair consists of a private key and a public key.  A public key is used to encrypt files or email messages and the private key is then used to decrypt any files or email messages.

If you lose your key and do not have a backup from which to restore your key, you will never again be able to decrypt any information encrypted to your key. In a server managed environment, you can, however, reconstruct your key if your administrator has implemented a key restoration policy for your company.

To back up your PGP keypair

  1. In the PGP Keys control box, click My Private Keys.
  2. Select the icon representing your keypair.
  3. Select File > Export > Key.
  4. Type a name for the file.
  5. Select the Include Private Key(s) check box. This is important, because if you do not do this, only your public key will be exported.
  6. Click Save.
  7. Copy the file (which has an .asc extension) to a secure location. This may be a compact disc which you carefully archive, another personal computer, or a USB flash drive that you keep in a safe location. Please remember not to distribute this file to others, as it contains both your private key and your public key.