Simple PGP User Instructions (for Windows)

First of all, if you don't have PGP, go to the PGP International Distribution site and download the free latest version.

Install it. 

After installation, an icon for PGP should appear in the System Tray at the lower left of your screen. You can also use PGP from your Start/Program Menu. Operations described below can be done using PGP either location.

Basically, PGP works on the idea of two "keys". One public which you give out, and one private, which you never give out. A PGP message to you is encoded by the other person, who uses your public key to do so. In the same way, you can send a PGP message to another person using his public key.


 Sending an Encrypted Message

Write the message in your mail program, just like you would do when you compose regular email. That is easiest.

    2. Drag the cursor over the text to highlight all the text you want to encode.

    3. Click on the Edit menu at the top of the window and select Copy to copy the message to the Windows clipboard (a special memory buffer).

    4. Open PGP, and select Encrypt Clipboard. This will cause a 2-pane window to open that shows all the public keys you have in the top pane. If there is one in the bottom pane, and you don't want to send the message to that person, move it back to the top pane.

    5. Select the key for the intended recipient and drag it to the lower pane. Then click on OK.

    6. Go back to your email program. Highlight all the text in the message body and press the Delete key to get rid of it.

    7. Make sure the cursor is in the message body area, then from the Edit Menu, select Paste. This will put all the encrypted text into the message.

    8. Then just send the message.

Alternatively, if you want to create a message that you before opening your mail program, you can click on the PGP icon in the startup tray, choose Edit Clipboard, type your message there, and click on Copy to Clipboard. Then click again on the PGP icon and choose Encrypt Clipboard. Once more, click on the PGP icon and now choose Edit Clipboard again. You will now see your encrypted message. You can then copy it from there and paste it into the message body of your email.



 Reading an Encrypted Message


When you open a PGP message, it will look like a lot of garbage text. Highlight all the text beginning at the start of the line that says:

                                -----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE----- 
                     all the way to the end of the line that says
                                -----END PGP MESSAGE-----  

Very important -  you must have these beginning and ending notices and dashes included.

    2. From the Edit menu at the top of the window, select Copy to copy the encrypted message to the Windows clipboard.

    3. Open PGP and launch Decrypt and Verify from Clipboard. This opens a window where you have to type your secret key passphrase into the lower window. Once you do, it will decrypt the message and display it in a new window.

    4. Click on the button that says Copy to Clipboard, if you want to be able to paste the information into a new document that you can print or save. Or press OK to zap the decoded message.



 Sending Your Public Key to Someone

Start PGP and Launch PGP Keys either from the Start/Programs menu or from the system tray. On the Start/Programs menu, find PGP and select PGP Keys. In the system tray, click with the right mouse button. A menu will pop up. Select PGP Keys

    2. Once the PGP Keys window is open, highlight your key with the mouse.


From the Keys menu at the top of the window, select Export. This will open a file management window with provide a suggested filename and folder location for the exportable key. The file will have an .asc extension on it. Put the file in an easy to remember location for using it as an email attachment.

    4. Start your email and attach the the .asc file. Then just send the message and attached key to whomever you want.



 Importing A Public Key That Someone Sent You

You will either receive the key as an email attachment or in the body of a message.

   2.1 If it is an attachment, save the attachment to a folder you can easily find.

  2.2 Open PGP and select Launch PGP Keys.

  2.3 From the Keys menu at the top of the window, select Import. That opens a file management window. Locate the folder where you put the .asc key file and select it. Click on OK.

  2.4 A new window will open. Click on Import, and it is put into your list of public keys.


If the key is sent to you in the body of an email or as a text-file attachment, highlight all the text starting with:

                     all the way to the end of the line that says
                                -----END PGP MESSAGE-----

  3.2 From the Edit menu at the top of the window, select Copy to copy the text to the Windows clipboard.

  3.3 Move the cursor to the Desktop area. Use the right mouse button to pop up a menu. Select New, then choose Text Document.

  3.4 A new, blank text document icon will appear somewhere on your Desktop. Rename it to xxxxxxxx.asc (where xxxxxxxx = name of the key sender). Remember to use .asc instead of .txt as the filename's extension.

  3.5 Open the document and from the menu at the top of the Window, select Paste to put the copy in the encrypted text from the clipboard.

  3.6 Use the File menu to Save and Exit the document.

  3.7 Open PGP and select Launch PGP Keys. From the menu at the top of the window, select Import. From here on, it will be like the steps in 2 above. The file you want to import will be located on the Desktop. It's actual location is: 
My Computer\C:\Desktop\xxxxxxxx.asc



 Setting Up and Using PGP Hot Keys


Launch PGP from system tray. Select OPTIONS.

  1.2 A window with folder tabs will appear. Under the first tab (General), change CACHE DECRYTION FOR PASSPHRASES from 00:02:00 (2 minutes) to 00:20:00 (20 minutes). This allows the decryption routine to stay active longer than the default of 2 minutes.

  2.1 Select the tab called HOT KEYS.


Enable the encrypt and decrypt hotkey combinations by clicking in the respective checkboxes for ENCRYPT CURRENT WINDOW and DECRYPT AND VERIFY CURRENT WINDOW. Since PGP's pre-defined hotkey combinations are often used by other Windows applications, you need to change them.

  2.3 In the field next to ENCRYPT, you will see the default hotkey combination of Cntrl + Shift + E. Place your cursor at the beginning of the field, press the Cntrl, ALT and E keys together and the field will then display Cntrl + Alt + E.

  2.4 Move to the DECRYPT field and repeat, this time replace the Cntrl + Shift + E combination with Cntrl + ALT + D. Now you are done.


If you want to use the hot keys to encrypt or decrypt everything in a window (like an ICQ window or an email), just place the cursor at any spot within the text and press Cntrl + Alt + E (or D). The first time you do this, you will have to enter your passphrase. It will stay cached for 20 minutes.


If you only want to encrypt or decrypt a portion of text, highlight the section you want to affect and press the appropriate hotkey combination. Only that part will be encrypted or decrypted.

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