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Thunderbird cannot search PGP-encrypted emails. Hence, I was considering copying all my emails from IMAP to local storage, then decrypting them all locally, so that they are searchable. Is this possible?

Thunderbird stores email folders as a single mbox file. I attempted gpg -d mbox_file, but this only decrypted a single email, and then failed with an error as follows.

gpg: [don't know]: invalid packet (ctb=46)
gpg: decryption failed: Bad signature
gpg: packet(3) too short

N.B. the mbox also contains non-encrypted email. I could perhaps filter these out from within Thunderbird, but the solution would preferably deal with this elegantly.

  • What is wrong with using enigmail for thunderbird? – SailorCire Aug 13 '14 at 15:04
  • Thunderbird + Enigmail cannot search through PGP-encrypted emails. – Sparhawk Aug 13 '14 at 15:04
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As of 2020 (sorry, I've no idea when this function was added) enigmail has a "decrypt to folder" option. (At the very bottom of the context menu.)

And you can select all messages in a folder, then use it to decrypt all messages in bulk.

(My search found your question as I'm wanting to do the opposite: take a directory of plain text messages and encrypt them all, such that enigmail is needed to read them.)

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