How can I use a PGP key on Windows to sign/verify and encrypt/decrypt documents?

Occasionally I need to encrypt a file, cryptographically sign something, etc. GNU PG and PGP are good tools for this, but how can I get them working on Windows? When I try to search for an installer, I get a lot of different options, and it’s not clear which software I actually need! Furthermore, on half the websites it’s not even clear which files I need to download.


The best combination I’ve been able to find so far is using Gpg4Win and GPGshell. As of August 2012, the current versions and downloads are as follows:

  • Gpg4win: provides the binaries required for signing and such. This is technically all you need, but the GPGshell makes it a lot easier to manage keys and such, in my opinion.
    Download from

  • GPGshell: adds shell extensions (such as right-click menu options and a tray icon) to make using GPG easier.
    Download from