Transferring your Key Pair From One Computer To Another

Background: 

If you need to decrypt files that were encrypted with your private Key on an additional computer, you need to copy both your private and public keys (the entire Key pair) to that computer.

Note: this tutorial assumes you have already set up a Key pair. If you need guidance to set up the Key pair please refer to this article, which is a prerequisite to the instructions below.

 

How to transfer your Key pair:

Please select one of the below links, according to your Operating System:

 

Windows

1. On the machine where the encryption keys are stored, connect a USB drive to a free USB port.

2. Launch the GPA Key Manager application and select the encryption key you want to transfer. Please make sure that you see the text 'The key has both a private and a public part', in the details panel on the bottom of the window, as highlighted in the screenshot below.

3. Select the menu Keys and then click on Backup. Do NOT use Export, as this will only export the public part while you need both the public and the private key.

4. Save the key with a filename (e.g. secret-key-KEYID.asc) on the USB drive.

5. Eject the USB drive and connect it to a free USB port on the other computer (the one you want to transfer the key to). All the next steps have to be executed on that machine.

6. Make sure the the GPA software is installed, otherwise please install it.

7. Launch the GPA Key Manager application and click on the top menu Keys and then on Import Keys.

8. Click on the letter correspondent to the USB drive and select the file you have previously saved (e.g. secret-key-KEYID.asc). Then click Open.

9. The confirmation message should display "...1 public keys imported... 1 secret keys imported..."

10. Once the key has been successfully imported, delete the key file from the USB drive and empty the Trash.

 

macOS

1. On the machine where the encryption keys are stored, connect a USB drive to a free USB port.

2. Launch the GPG Keychain application and select the encryption key you want to transfer. Please make sure that you see the text Type: Secrete and public key, in the Type column.

3. With the desired encryption key highlighted, click Export. Please make sure to check the box for the option Include secret key in exported file, as illustrated in the above screenshot. Save the key pair to the USB drive.

4. Eject the USB drive and connect it to a free USB port on the other computer (the one you want to transfer the key to). All the next steps have to be executed on that machine.

5. Make sure the GPG Tools suite is installed, otherwise please install it.

6. Launch the GPG Keychain application and click the icon Import on the top toolbar.

7. Click the USB Drive and select the previously saved .ASC file that contains the Public and Private key. Then click Open.

8. The confirmation should read Import successful.

9. Once the key has been successfully imported, delete the key file from the USB drive and empty the Trash.

 

Related articles

KB3842 - Using GPG/RSA encryption keys to guarantee the privacy and security of your Reports
KB3968 - Generate a key pair using GPG for Windows
KB4205 - Generate a key pair using GPG Suite on macOS
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KB4411 - How to backup your public/private Key pair