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SSH: Agent Admitted Failure To Sign Using The Key Error And Solution

I‘ve recently regenrated and uploaded a new public ssh-key using the ssh-copy-id command. Now I’m getting the following error:

ssh root@server3
Agent admitted failure to sign using the key.
root@server3’s password:

How do I fix this problem?

To fix this problem you need logout of your Unix / Linux / OS X / BSD desktop session and log back in again to force the agent to forget identity. Another recommend option is to run the ssh-add command to add RSA or DSA identities to the authentication agent. This will fix your problem without login out from the current session. The syntax is as follows:

$ ssh-add

Pro tip: If your key located in different path or does not have the default filename, you will need to pass the path to ssh-add command as follows:

$ ssh-add /path/to/my/ssh_key
$ ssh-add ~/.ssh/server3_key

See ssh-add(1) command man page for more information.

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{ 37 comments… add one }
  • Luis Hernandez January 24, 2012, 8:14 pm

    Great tip !!!

  • Marcia Cupery June 13, 2012, 3:19 am

    Came across this answer after trying a million things. I can’t believe it was that simple. Thank you!!!

    • kanna March 28, 2015, 6:21 pm

      pleass can u explain it detailed…

  • Manojkuamr July 9, 2012, 1:46 pm


  • Luiyo July 23, 2012, 6:18 pm

    ssh-add worked for me!!


  • Julian Bruno August 2, 2012, 1:51 am

    ssh-add worked for me!!


  • Jose August 15, 2012, 11:24 pm

    This was a great reference starting page,
    kl thanks

  • manas ranjan palai August 29, 2012, 11:38 am

    **Agent admitted failure to sign using the key.**

    ssh-add is ultimate solution for above problem.

  • James Ritchie September 4, 2012, 11:29 am

    Yup: this approach worked for me. Got this error during trial Grid Infrastructure installation over pair of Oracle Linux 6.2 VMs in virtualbox on laptop. Cheers Vivek. No reference to this in E22489-06. Maybe Oracle should pay *you* a license…

  • manas ranjan palai September 5, 2012, 8:39 am

    Actually i tryed ssh-add command in ubuntu 10.04 when i want to logged in to remote linux system without password ,there is an error message came ”Agent admitted failure to sign using the key” and it asked for password then i try ssh-add command and it works fine.

    Above error came after creating keys.

  • sirvon September 8, 2012, 11:35 pm

    was discouraged in the past about password-less ssh
    but this post
    has me dancing!

  • Ozan November 8, 2012, 9:42 am

    thank you, you saved the day one more time

  • nagu January 25, 2013, 5:39 am

    you done a great job., Thanks for the great tip.

  • Amal Murali February 17, 2013, 1:07 pm

    Great. This fixed it, thanks!

  • Pratheep March 20, 2013, 7:33 am

    Thanks a lot…ssh-add worked for me!

  • kiritisai May 18, 2013, 12:55 pm

    thank you very much, that was really helpful for cloning my repository.

  • Tim July 9, 2013, 10:17 am

    Thank you for this. I’ve been smashing my forehead against the keyboard all day. ssh-add did the trick for me!

  • Japan Shah October 8, 2013, 6:07 pm

    Simply Amazing.
    It works, you have saved me.


  • balamurugan October 20, 2013, 1:39 pm

    super, i spend whole day to fix issue finally you helped me lot…

    Keep it up very very thanks……

  • Vitor November 21, 2013, 3:07 pm

    Great post!

  • Jayaram Sudheer January 23, 2014, 6:55 am

    Thanks,it helped me a lot…

  • Anurag Jajoo February 11, 2014, 11:29 am

    Thanks a lot!
    ssh-add solved my problem

  • muthu February 11, 2014, 11:45 am

    Its working…

  • M Tandon March 2, 2014, 3:00 am

    Hi Guys, I am working on Linux 6.5 under VM Machine and on my Oracle Install, I got suck with it, with ssh connectivity, and I tried it on terminal with the ssh-add command and it worked as charm, but later on Install it again failed and I tried on terminal it again started asking me to put the password, Any idea what else is stopping the Agent again and getting the under mentioned Message and who to move on it.
    “” Agent admitted failure to sign using the key””

  • M Tandon March 2, 2014, 10:46 pm

    Finally did the by-pass of Agent with command as “” SSH_AUTH_SOCK=0 “”

  • Eva April 19, 2014, 11:14 am

    Thanks, worked for me!

  • Peter May 8, 2014, 9:30 pm

    Thanks for the solution. But here’s a better one, better than restarting the desktop:

    forget about keys:

    ssh-add -D

    and then optionally add your key again:


  • Arup Sarker September 25, 2014, 12:06 pm

    You haved saved my day, man :)

  • Ankush November 11, 2014, 12:44 am

    Great tip.It worked for me.

    This post is really very helpful.
    Thanks a lot.


  • Jim November 20, 2014, 4:01 pm

    This does not work for me. After doing ‘ssh-add’, I now get the “Agent admitted failure to sign using the key.” message twice. I didn’t use to get this message at all, but now lately it has started happening. What am I doing wrong?

  • Jesus March 26, 2015, 6:42 pm

    it worked!, thanks a lot!

  • tcpdump April 16, 2015, 9:22 am

    same problem here => “Agent admitted failure to sign using the key.”
    there is a bug report for this…

    but unfortunately it offers only workarounds

  • gavin May 1, 2015, 10:15 pm

    lol this worked for me too with openshift. wow. I even closed my terminal window, reopened, and restarted zshell by typing `zsh`.

  • Marcelo July 21, 2015, 12:03 pm


  • Aravind S July 31, 2015, 7:31 am

    Great tip that saved my day Vivek …Thanks a lot !

  • Suneel August 20, 2015, 6:20 am

    That’s a great tip, It worked for me too….. Thank you.

  • JP February 25, 2016, 2:03 pm

    Another thank you.

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