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9.4.5. Decrypting files

Using the -d option, you can decrypt files that have been encrypted for you. The data will scroll over your screen, but an encrypted copy will remain on disk. So for file formats other than plain text, you will want to save the decrypted data, so that you can view them with the appropriate program. This is done using the -o option to the gpg command:

willy@ubuntu:~$ gpg -d -o /var/tmp/home-willy-decrypt.tar /var/tmp/home-willy-20060808.tar.gpg

You need a passphrase to unlock the secret key for
user: "Willy De Wandel (Willem) <[email protected]>"
4096 ELG-E key, ID A3449CF7, created 2006-08-08 (main key ID BF5C3DBB)

gpg: encrypted with 4096-bit ELG-E key, ID A3449CF7, created 2006-08-08
        "Willy De Wandel (Willem) <[email protected]>"

Warning No password = no data

If you can not remember your password, the data is lost. Not even the system administrator will be able to decrypt the data. That is why a copy of important keys is sometimes kept in a sealed vault in a bank.

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