PGP Desktop 9 woes

Today I needed to test PGP Desktop 9 so that I could send encrypted emails between myself and a client. The installation has been less than simple. The older versions of PGP Email were more user friendly to set up. If you are having issues installing PGP Desktop 9 and struggling to send PGP encrypted emails, then check these following steps, which needless to say, caused me a headache.

Download the PGP Desktop 9 Professional Trial version, because the Home version does not support MAPI, hence Outlook. Needless to say, that wasn’t clear when I downloaded and installed the Home version.

A PDF file will be attached to the email you get sent with the download instructions. You need this PDF as it contains your trial license key. Without actually installing the license you get an unhelpful error that says “Your PGP license does not support Exchange proxying. Message sent unsecured.”. Since I had assumed that by downloading the trial software the license was already set to the trial, I didn’t realise what the error was actually saying. What it should say is “You haven’t installed your license key (Even trial licenses must be manually installed). Refer to the PDF document sent with your download instructions. Enter it in the ‘License’ section under ‘About’ -> ‘License’. Many thanks”.

You need to sign other people’s public PGP keys before using them. I forgot this one. You also need to send your public key to the recipient before encryption can be effortless. If you have signed a recipient’s public key, it will show up in your key ring with the “Validity” flag as green.

The new version of PGP email works by hooking into the SMTP and POP3 ports. This causes a problem with almost all anti-virus programs. I had to disable Grisoft’s AVG Free to get PGP to work. If I don’t the AVG email scanner and the PGP email scanner seem to fall out and get stuck. I’ve read some forums that say you should re-install AVG after PGP is installed, but to be honest I’m just trialling PGP Desktop so I can’t be bothered to go through that hassle. I can’t believe that PGP didn’t think of that possible issue. I mean, who has an anti-virus program installed, which might monitor email going in and out of the system? Monkeys….

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Ben Powell

Ben Powell was born in Wales and after living in several European countries is now resident in Germany. He is a frequent blogger, software developer and a social techie.

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