The best format for backup my Private Key

Good day,
Ty for ur beautiful program, im a old user of PGP 8.0.2 (winXP) and now (new windows) i use ur beautiful program GPG4win+Kleopatra (Kleopatra is much similar to PGPtray, im very happy for this).

Now the format of my secret and private key are in old format of PGP (.skr and .pkr protected with password), GPG4win read without problems this files (also in the future will be so?), but i see that i can export my private key in others formats, for this i ask the best format of my Private Key for backup and SECURITY…

  • .skr (is password protected, but will be supported always form GPG?)
  • .pgp (i think is password protected, is so?)
  • .asc normal (is secure with password?)
  • .asc ascii armor (armor is protected with password?)

The best format for backup my private key is?
TyVm for all…

Hi there,

Thank you for the complements, much appriciated!

  • *.skr (and *.pkr) are formats to save your whole key ring. skr is the short form of secret key ring and pkr is the short for public key ring. Bot contain keys in binary format
  • *.key are nearly the same as skr or pkr, but can contain any key in a binary format. I understand, that *.pgp and *.key are equal
  • .asc only indicates, that the given key is stored in the ASCII format, unlike the others, a non-binary format

Every format has its own purpose and is equally secure. If a third person obtains you private key, doesnt matter if he has the complete key ring, just the key or the key in a ASCII-format, he always needs your password to use it.

Kind regards,

Tyvm now i understand all much better. ^-^


In my initial reply I just informed you about the different types of export. I learned, that there are different types of security when exporting your key. It depends on the version of software you used to export your key and on the power of the machine you use.
I don’t know what options make a exported key more or less secure, but for a better knowledge about this topic you could ask the gnugp-users mailinglist.

Best wishes,

Ty for ur info,
i understand that different type of secrets keys = different security,
BUT with the same machine, the best type for security for my secret key is?
Ty for all…

Hi Mao,

just backup the gnupg directories.
There is no need to export the keys.


Ok perfect, i will take my old PGP directory and my new GPG directory with keys without export.

TYVM for all… :slight_smile: