Signing Git Commits Using PowerShell

Guide written for Windows Version: 11 Pro

If you do not have GPG Keys setup refer to Setting up GPG Keys with Powershell

Configuring Git Global Variables

  1. List gpg keys

Note: The key ID is the part after / on the line starting with “sec”

gpg --list-secret-keys --keyid-format LONG
  1. Configure Git to Use Your GPG key
git config --global user.signingkey YOUR_KEY_ID
  1. Optional: To configure Git to sign all your commits by default
git config --global commit.gpgsign true
  1. Print your public GPG Key
gpg --armor --export YOUR_EMAIL_ADDRESS

Adding Your GPG key to GitLab

  • Sign in to GitLab
  • Go to your user settings, then to the “GPG Keys” section.
  • Paste your public GPG key into the text area and click “Add key.”
  1. Verify
  • Commit and push changes to your repository.
git commit -S -m "Your commit message"

Common Errors

1. No Secret Key

gpg: skipped "A6D52EAF2B1C52E5": No secret key
gpg: signing failed: No secret key
error: gpg failed to sign the data
fatal: failed to write commit object

Background Information:

  • Git for Windows comes with a minimal version of GnuPG. This version uses the ~/.gnupg/, C:\Users\YourUsername\.gnupg\ , directory for configuration files and key storage.

  • gpg4win configures GnuPG to use %APPDATA%\gnupg for configuration files and key storage.

  1. Check Git global configuration
git config --global --list

Look for gpg.program variable. If there is no gpg.program entry, Git will attempt to use the minimal install discussed above. name
user.signingkey= 12334asd3
  1. Set the GPG Program in Git Configuration
git config --global gpg.program "C:/Program Files (x86)/GnuPG/bin/gpg.exe"


Your path may differ; please confirm before running this command.

  1. Confirm Change
git config --global --list Your Name
user.signingkey= 12334asd3
gpg.program=C:/Program Files (x86)/GnuPG/bin/gpg.exe

2. Bad Data Signature

gpg: bad data signature from key PROBLEMID: Wrong key usage (0x19, 0x2)
  1. Check for Matching Keys
  • List the key ID Git is configured to use
git config --global user.signingkey
  • Check for the Matching Key
gpg --list-secret-keys --keyid-format LONG

3. No Agent Running

gpg: can't connect to the gpg-agent: IPC connect call failed
gpg: keydb_search failed: No agent running
gpg: skipped "<signing-key>": No agent running
gpg: signing failed: No agent running
error: gpg failed to sign the data
fatal: failed to write commit object
  1. Start Agent
 gpgconf --launch gpg-agent

To prepare for future use, set the Gpg agent to auto-start.

  • Search for “Task Scheduler” in the Windows Start menu.

  • Click “Create Basic Task”.

    • Name the task “Gpg Agent Startup”.
  • Click next to move to “Trigger”. Select “When I log on”.

  • Click next to move to “Action”. Select “Start a program”.

    • Under “Program/script” add:
     gpgconf --launch gpg-agent

    Click next.

  • Popup will appear asking:

    “Do you want to run the following program: start “GPG Agent” “C:\Program Files (x86)\GnuPG\bin\gpg-connect-agent.exe” /bye.”

    Click Yes

  • Click finish.