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Using the Command Line to Decrypt a Message on Windows

May 14, 2018

Using the Command Line to Decrypt a Message on Windows

An envelope with a pained face. Its envelope has been ripped open, exposing the message.

If you have disabled the PGP plugin from your mail client and saved a copy of an encrypted email to your desktop, this guide will help you read that message in as safe a way as possible given what we know about the vulnerability described by EFAIL.

1. Open the start menu by clicking the “Windows” icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen or pressing the “Windows” key on your keyboard.

2. Next, type “cmd” in the start menu that appears, and then the “enter” key.

3. You will now see a “Command Prompt” window appear.

4. Type exactly “cd Desktop”, then hit the “Enter” key.

5. Type the following text exactly: “gpg -d encrypted.eml”, then hit the “Enter” key. Outlook users should type exactly “gpg -d encrypted.asc” instead.

6. You will now be prompted to enter your GPG passphrase. Type it into the dialog, which may look different for Enigmail users, then hit the “Enter” key.

7. You should now see the contents of the message in the Command Prompt window.

These notes are based on Windows 10 with Gpg4win.

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