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You can import a certificate so that you can use it on your computer, or you can export a certificate so that you can use it on another computer.

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To import a certificate and private key

If someone sends you a certificate, or you transfer a certificate from one computer to another, the certificate and private key must be imported before they can be used. The process of importing the certificate places it in the correct certificate folder.

  1. Open Certificate Manager by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, typing certmgr.msc into the search box, and then pressing Enter. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  2. Click the folder that you want to import the certificate into, click the Action menu, point to All Tasks, and then click Import.

  3. Click Next, and then follow the instructions.

    Note

    • If you click Browse to search for a certificate when using the Certificate Import wizard, be aware that the Open dialog box only displays X.509 certificates by default. If you want to import another type of certificate, select the certificate type you want to import in the Open dialog box.

To export a certificate and private key

If you want to create a backup copy of the certificate or use it on another computer, you must first export the certificate and private key. Exporting the certificate puts it in a file that you can then transfer to another computer or put in a safe place. We recommend that you export certificates to removable media, such as a floppy disk or USB flash drive.

  1. Open Certificate Manager by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, typing certmgr.msc into the search box, and then pressing Enter. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  2. Right-click the certificate that you want to export, point to All Tasks, and then click Export.

  3. In the Certificate Export wizard, click Next.

  4. If you're going to use this certificate on another computer, click Yes, export the private key; otherwise, click No, do not export the private key, and then click Next. (This option will appear only if the private key is marked as exportable and you have access to it.)

  5. Select the format you want to use, and then click Next.

    Note

    • Choosing the format you want to use depends on how you want to use the certificate. For a certificate with a private key, use the Personal Information Exchange format. If you want to move multiple certificates in one file from one computer to another, use the Cryptographic Message Syntax Standard. If you need to use a certificate on more than one operating system, use the DER encoded binary X.509 format.

  6. If you chose to export the private key, type the password you want to use to encrypt the key, confirm it, and then click Next.

  7. The export process creates a file to store the certificate in. Enter a name for the file and the location (include the entire path), or click Browse, navigate to the location, and then enter the file name.

  8. Click Finish.