Unix & Linux Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there an E-Mail client for linux which allows to search old gpg encrypted mails (i.e. find all mails which contain a particular keyword in the body, including the encrypted ones).

share|improve this question
Related: superuser.com/q/434915/53616 – student Dec 12 '12 at 12:17
Related: superuser.com/q/225371/53616 – student Dec 12 '12 at 12:42
What are you after with the bounty beyond the current set of answers? – slm Jul 22 '13 at 16:55
@slm I am just looking for more solutions for for me and for the community. Since prism more people seem to consider encrypting mails and computer magazines write about this. However for me it seems to be hard to convince many users to use encrypted mail if something fundamental such as searching in your mail archives doesn't work well with encrypted mails. For this purpose it would be great if also (multiple) GUI solutions would exist. So my intention was to draw more attention to this topic and hope to get some more good answers... – student Jul 22 '13 at 17:14
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Mutt has pretty good PGP integration. The wiki shows what settings you need to add to your .muttrc; these settings may already be present in the system-wide configuration file (for example, on Debian, PGP/gpg works out of the box).

Mutt supports mbox, mh and maildir mailboxes. If you search in a mailbox that happens to contain encrypted mail, you'll be prompted for your gpg passphrase (if you haven't already entered it in this session either in mutt or in an external keyring program), and mutt will find occurrences in encrypted mails.

Mutt doesn't have a command to search multiple mailboxes. If your mails are stored in single files, you can make symbolic links inside a single directory to make a huge mh-format mailbox; it may be a little slow.

Also, I haven't used it, but Notmuch is a recent tool to manage email that supports gpg and is good at indexing, so it should support searches of encrypted mails.

share|improve this answer

It has been a long time that I used this, but pine could do almost anything to mails - there might even have been an option to index decrypted mails (without storing them decrypted).

Update 2012-08-31

PGP-pine-integration describes the integration. This is done through a display filter - so, sorry - no luck with pine here, too.

share|improve this answer
I googled about how to do this in pine but didn't find anything, unfortunately. – student Aug 30 '12 at 6:21
@student Sorry for the dead end - I updated my answer with my findings for this. – Nils Aug 31 '12 at 20:49

I should think Claws and Thunderbird both have such support, if you prefer a graphical mailer. Unless they removed some of those features since I last tried them (7~10 years ago).

share|improve this answer
For thunderbird the bug was reported in 2003, then there was an endless discussion but it isn't solved today as far as I know. See bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=188988. However if you know how to do it with Thunderbird or with Claws please give the details, I would appreciate it! – student Jul 24 '13 at 19:12

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.