There's no easier way in the satoshi client at the moment. I don't know if there are plans to make importing private keys available from the GUI.
Are you sure that method works? I was under the impression that the rpc password was different than the password used to encrypt keys.
I haven't tried that way but if I recall I did it like this, with satoshi client,
bitcoind walletpassphrase <pwd>
bitcoind importprivkey 5blahblahblah...
No file editing. At the import step it took some long time to come back as it scans the chain. This can easily be put in a script file with pwd and key args. eg.
bitcoind walletpassphrase $1 60
bitcoind importprivkey $2 $3
(I added the sleep because when first starting the daemon is too busy to take cmds.)
Save to file "importkey", chmod +x importkey.
Now you have a one step way to do it.
importkey <pwd> <key>
But be aware that your pwd is in the cmdline and will be in history file etc. Which is bad. With very small change it could be prompted for instead.
echo -n "Enter passphrase:"
read -s pwd
echo "Waiting while server busy"
echo "Unlocking wallet"
bitcoind walletpassphrase $pwd 60
echo "Importing and scanning the chain"
bitcoind importprivkey $1 $2
I added a few progress msgs. Use like this, (will prompt for passphrase, label optional)
importkey <key> [label]
Note: the gui client cannot be running at same time.
Now we have a one step import. Easy to modify further into a bulk import too.
I leave as an exercise how you might do it with Windows.
Re: v1.6 Brain Wallet
That's awesome! Just tried it. Imported key with script above. Works.