On 16.04 and using GNOME Shell not Unity, I wanted to import a *.pem for a custom root cert, but as the "Passwords & Keys" (seahorse) app said I had to unlock a locked keyring to which I could not remember the password (perhaps after the last update, or due to the change of shell?).

Following How to recover/reset forgotten Gnome Keyring Password? I have removed rm ~/.local/share/keyrings/login.keyring (which was the right thing to do?) and as that didn't work, it still asked for a password to unlock the keyring (did I just forget to logout/login?), I've then also removed rm ~/.local/share/keyrings/user.keystore (was that dumb?).

But now the Import button is greyed out when I try to import the *.pem, saying "Cannot import because there are no compatible importers" in a hover.

And in my "Passwords & Keys" the "Root CA certificates" & "Gnome 2 Key storage", visible e.g. here How migrate my keyring (containing ssh passprases, nautilus remote filesystem, pgp passwords) and network manager connections?, are gone:

Screenshot of seahorse with missing "Root CA certificates" & "Gnome 2 Key storage"

How do I get them back, so that I can import that *.pem?

1 Answer 1


I had the same issue after updating to 16.04

After removing the file ~/.local/share/keyrings/user.keystore the Gnome2 Key Storage that had an unknown password on it was no longer available. I had a hard time getting it to recreate itself as many people suggested would happen.

This morning I verified that the file was missing and the ability to import keys was non functional. I rebooted the computer and the Gnome2 Key Storage has rebuilt itself.

While in "Passwords & Keys" I clicked on the unlock button and presented with the password prompt that has been having issues. I entered my logon password and it presented me with a failed message. After closing out the window I noticed that the folder was now unlocked. I imported a key, locked the folder, and the unlocked it on the first try with my logon password.

I’m running 16.04 with full disk encryption. This was upgraded from 14.04, however the upgrade process had some bugs.

In short:

Verify that you have the latest updates for Ubuntu 16.04 before proceding

  1. rm ~/.local/share/keyrings/user.keystore
  2. Verify that Gnome2 Key Storage is no longer available
  3. Restart Ubuntu
  4. In "Passwords and Keys" check to see if Gnome2 Key Storage is available
  5. If Gnome2 Key Storage is available, attempt to login with users logon password; if Gnome2 Key Storage is not available, restart a second time
  6. if the password fails close out of the password prompt and check to see if it has been unlocked anyway, if it has been upload your certificate and verify lock and unlock functionality.

I have not had a chance to replicate the issue again and follow these steps on my own after I got this working again.

  • After restarting seahorse, immediately after removal of user.keystore a new empty user.keystore will be created. After reboot, that user.keystore will even have some bytes of content. But it required a second reboot, before "Gnome2 Key Storage" reappeared in seahorse. Dec 12, 2016 at 13:57
  • 1
    I did the above steps but even after rebooting several times, it didn't work. Strangely enough, when I created a new "Password Keyring", "Gnome2 Key Storage" reappeared. Mar 15, 2018 at 13:50

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