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Thunderbird Update and PGP keys

  • 2 uphendule
  • 1 inale nkinga
  • Igcine ukuphendulwa ngu atErik

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It's now the second time (now 78.4.3) that Thunderbird lost all saved PGP keys (private and public) after the update. Is there a way to avoid this? This is quite annoying. (windows10)

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This is being worked on, and a fix will hopefully land soon. Whether this will be in the upcoming 78.5.0 version or later, I don't know. Check the release notes for new versions once they are released.


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Thunderbird's OpenPGP keys are stored in files secring.gpg and pubring.gpg inside the user's profile directory. When saving the OpenPGP key files, Thunderbird (versions up to 78.5.0) creates new files with filename *.gpg.tmp-new, then renames *.gpg to *.gpg.old, then renames *.gpg.tmp-new to *.gpg

In certain situations, for example if Thunderbird unexpectedly quits, or if the computer shuts off unexpectedly, the previous files have already been renamed to *.gpg.old, but the new files *.gpg.tmp-new have not yet been renamed to the good filenames.

We're currently working on an improvement to make saving these files more robust. That work is tracked in

Until a stable version with a fix gets released, you can try to manually repair the problem.

If you experience this problem, for example you notice that you start Thunderbird and that all your OpenPGP keys are missing, you should exit Thunderbird. Use a file explorer to find the directory that contains the files of your Thunderbird profile. (You can learn more on this topic here: . If you are using the Windows operating system, you should enable the file explorer setting that shows file extensions.)

Before attempting the repair, you should create a backup of the files we're manipulating: Copy all files that begin with secring. and pubring. to a separate folder.

If your profile directory doesn't contain a secring.gpg file, but it contains a file secring.gpg.old then rename file secring.gpg.old to secring.gpg

If your profile directory doesn't contain a pubring.gpg file, but it contains a file pubring.gpg.old then rename file pubring.gpg.old to pubring.gpg

Then start Thunderbird and check if your OpenPGP keys are available again.

Alternatively, if you had created a new secret key, and it is missing, and you also had a file named secring.gpg.tmp-new then you could try to use that file, by renaming it to secring.gpg

This concludes the instructions for manual repairing.

While we're still working on the improved software, you may volunteer to help us with testing. At the time of writing this comment, we are still testing the improvements.

We'd appreciate your feedback to confirm the improvement is working correctly for you. For test instructions, please refer to the comments in


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