A couple of weeks ago a popup has appeared whenever I startup telling me that an application wants to access the keyring but it doesn't say which one. I'm used to seeing the application name on the popup but here it just says 'application'.

I haven't changed any passwords or did anything that might have something to do with that, to my knowledge.

I saw this question but like I said, I haven't changed any of my passwords, and I don't want my keyring password to be empty.

How can I find out which application is asking to unlock the keyring and fix it?

Here's how it looks like: alt text

  • What version of ubuntu you are using?And can you post us the snapshot of the popup window?
    – karthick87
    Jan 15, 2011 at 10:40
  • Ubuntu 10.10. And that's a negative about the snapshot, it doesn't work. The print screen key nor any of the menus seem locked.
    – Idan K
    Jan 15, 2011 at 10:43
  • I can take a picture of it using a camera if you think that'll help though.
    – Idan K
    Jan 15, 2011 at 10:49
  • what application have you installed lately that requires a password..If you joining a wireless network , make sure "available to all users is checked"..
    – karthick87
    Jan 15, 2011 at 10:54
  • I don't think I've installed anything lately that requires a password. And I'm not joining a wireless network.
    – Idan K
    Jan 15, 2011 at 11:08

8 Answers 8


I setup my box for auto-login and it does this on every login. In my case it's nm-applet/network-manager family of apps.

btw the problem has been around for some time, evidently some half-fix got undone during a package upgrade, but i digress...one solution is here

WHATEVER is causing the problem you could add after login but before everything else: a script with libpam-gnome-keyring to unlock it...the package to get this tool is: libpam-gnome-keyring at least in 11.04

#launch useful stuff for gnome
#first unlock the default keyring...  
echo YOUR_KEYRING_PASSWORD_HERE | /usr/libexec/pam-keyring-tool -u -s  
#then run nm-applet in the background...  
nm-applet &  

and the "bugs" on bugzilla are probably being continually given priority of low because it's only for autologin users. it doesn't happen "out of the box" only due to customization. just trying to help you understand why it seems like the devs don't care. it's not a coding problem, it's...well...something else.

proof video that it is nm-applet is here

and the reason it freezes the menu system is not because of gksudo, it's because it's an applet trying to start that grabs the tray and locks the menu-system. at least in my case you can still launch icons on the desktop. try putting a shortcut to a terminal there if you really must go mucking about with the prompt there.

  • I've been auto logging since forever. How do you know which app is causing it in your case? Can I somehow check what's causing it in my setup?
    – Idan K
    Jan 20, 2011 at 19:02
  • np, just upsetting that i knew i was right and didn't get the bounty...but oh well. didn't meet the time constraint Jan 30, 2011 at 13:33
  • I'd give you the rest of my rep if I could, if that comforts you ;)
    – Idan K
    Jan 31, 2011 at 19:29
  • again np. i could have done this digging before it expired and i didn't. my fault Jan 31, 2011 at 21:09

From a security perspective, the answer is that in current distros (not just Ubuntu) you can't tell which application it is. See https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=574315#c4 for clarification from a gnome-keyring developer, including the security implications and scope of the task. See also http://live.gnome.org/GnomeKeyring/SecurityPhilosophy

(From a practical perspective I am also using auto-login on Ubuntu, and it seems that it is indeed nm-applet.)


I have found:

None of them have a suitable answer, which leads me to believe there is no way to find out what application is asking you to unlock the keyring.


Is it possible that you've changed your password recently?

In order to see what passwords are stored in your keyring, go to "Passwords and Encryption Keys" in system -> preferences (I think - I always uninstall it as a security risk).

In that application (called Seahorse by the way), click on the "Login" keychain and either change the password on that to match your current password, or remove the password from that keychain altogether by changing it to a blank password (you'll get a warning about using "unsafe storage").


Okay, Goto Your Home folder Places > Home Folder And Press CTRL-H to show hidden files then navigate to .gnome2/keyrings. Look at default.keyring. If it is there or there is some sort of file called 'default' then Look at it and that is the app causing you all this issue.

  • Both of the files you mentioned are there. default contains the string default. and default.keyring seems to contain only binary data.
    – Idan K
    Jan 20, 2011 at 18:44
  • There is a file on my laptop, I will boot it up and see what it is called and then get back you you with it. I could also post a example of what it says in the name part.
    – megubyte
    Jan 20, 2011 at 18:50
  • On my laptop there is no binary files :/
    – megubyte
    Jan 20, 2011 at 19:18

You could, alternatively delete your keyring folder and Restart. That should get rid of the Password box. It will not break anything as It recreates itself using default settings :)


Run System Monitor from System - Administration and check which application is throwing the prompt.

  • When the prompt appears I can't press anything on the screen, including the System menu.
    – Idan K
    Jan 20, 2011 at 17:28

Hi The key ring dialog pops up whenever ubuntu finds a wireless network.It is utility to save your secret network credentials like password etc.You can change the settings from system> Administration> Keyring manager.(I think you can find the manager here)(I don't remember the exact location sorry)

  • um...if it prompts on finding wireless networks and subsequently joins it is network-manager given the default package selection. I already noted this in a previous answer Jan 26, 2011 at 20:21

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