How to Generate a Key Pair for PGP

[This article originally appeared on Cryptonomicon.Net in 1999. -Ed.]


This document is intended to help the reader install PGP, generate a PGP key pair, and edit trust settings to reflect real-world trust relationships. After doing this, it will be possible to engage in confidential, trusted communications via email. If you're familiar with PGP and don't need any hand-holding, please jump to the bottom of this document for recommendations for PGP key generation parameters. Also, I'm assuming you've got a Windows PC. PGP on a Mac is pretty straight forward, insert the disk, double-click the installer, don't generate a key during the installation process, and jump to step 1 in the "Generating a Key" section below.

Installing PGP

Generating A Key

Backing Up Your Key

Distributing your Public Key

Importing Other People's Keys

Pass it Along

PGP Parameter Review