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Create a PFX

Whilst Certdog allows for certificates to be provisioned as PFX files (as well as JKS and PEM). There are occasions when you need to generate a PFX file using standard Microsoft tooling

In this example, we will generate a CSR (marking it as exportable), submit the request and obtain the certificate, then export as a PFX

Create the INF File

Create a .inf file as follows:

Signature="$Windows NT$"
Subject=", O=Comp Ltd, C=GB"
ProviderName="Microsoft RSA SChannel Cryptographic Provider"


[Extensions] = "{text}"
_continue_ = ""
_continue_ = ""
_continue_ = ""

The key items to edit here are:

  • Subject

    • Enter your required DN
  • Exportable=true

    • This marks the key that will be generated as part of the request, as exportable. Meaning we can export it as a PFX later
  • MachineKeySet=true

    • The keys will be stored in the Local Machine store. Certificates that are used by web servers or services will require the keys to be stored here. But this doesn’t really matter if your intention is to export the PFX for use elsewhere
  • HashAlgorithm

    • The hash algorithm e.g. sha256, sha512 etc.
  • KeyLength

    • The key length in bits
  • KeyUsage (Optional)

    • The key usages ORd together. Available values are:
  • Extensions (Optional)

    • Here you can specify extensions. In the example above we specify the extension which refers to Subject Alternative Names
    • Specify the required SANS. Available options for SANs are:
      • DNS
      • EMail
      • UPN
      • DirectoryName
      • URL
      • IPAddress
      • RegisteredId
  • CertificateTemplate (Optional)

    • If submitting to a Microsoft CA you may also specify the template name here

    • Note the name is the template name (doesn’t include spaces) rather than the template display name (which allows spaces)

    • You can specify the template when submitting to the CA later as well

Update as required and save the .inf file

Generate the CSR

Open a command prompt as Admin, navigate to where you saved the .inf file (e.g. request.inf) and type

certreq -new request.inf cert.csr

The request will be generated and saved to cert.csr

Submit the CSR for Processing

Follow normal processes to obtain a certificate from your CSR. If you have privileges to issue from a Microsoft CA, you may simply be able to run the following command:

certreq cert.csr

If you didn’t specify a template in the .inf file, you can do so now, as follows:

certreq -attrib "CertificateTemplate:SubCA" cert.csr

You will be prompted to choose the CA to send the request to

The certificate will be issued. Download this to the same location as the .inf file. E.g. cert.cer

Import the Certificate

We now import the issued certificate into the Windows store. If all is correct this will match up with the keys we generated when the CSR was created

Run the following

certreq -accept cert.cer

You may see output such as:

Installed Certificate:
  Serial Number: 450eaefcca0e939a7dff86039c8f5e4e
  Subject:, O=Comp Ltd, C=GB
  NotBefore: 16/11/2021 16:09
  NotAfter: 16/11/2022 16:09
  Thumbprint: d11475aed31aa89f17d5720d311e0a3afaa68853

But in some cases no output is observed. As long as no errors are received, things should be OK

Export as a PFX

You can now either open up mmc.exe, locate the issued certificate in the machine store and export

Or you can use PowerShell:

First, we need to get the certificate we imported. You can use the subject name to locate this:

$certificate = Get-ChildItem -Path Cert:\LocalMachine\My\ | Where-Object {$_.Subject -match ""}

Which should work OK if that’s the only certificate you have with that name

Otherwise, we can also specify the Thumbprint - this was displayed when we accepted the certificate above:

$certificate = Get-ChildItem -Path Cert:\LocalMachine\My\ | Where-Object {$_.Thumbprint -match "d11475aed31aa89f17d5720d311e0a3afaa68853"}

Then, we set the password we will export the PFX under:

$password="strongpassword" | ConvertTo-SecureString -AsPlainText -Force

And then export the certificate and keys as a PFX to a file:

Export-PfxCertificate -Cert $certificate -FilePath cert.pfx -Password $password

More info on certreq can be found here for more info

Using Certdog

Of course. This can all be performed with Certdog in a few clicks or a couple of REST API or PowerShell calls

E.g. The equivalent PowerShell to obtain the same from Certdog is:

login -username user -password $pass
$resp = Request-Cert -dn ", O=Comp Ltd, C=GB" -caName "Certdog TLS Issuer" -csrGeneratorName "RSA2048" -subjectAltNames @('','','') -teamName "My Team" -p12Password 'strongpassword'
Set-Content -Path cert.pfx -Value $resp.p12Data

…and that is all you need to do…

See here for issuing certs via the UI