Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Find the private key associated with a specific X.509 certificate

It can be difficult to find the location and name of the private key file associated with a specific X.509 certificate in the certificate store. The FindPrivateKey.exe tool facilitates this process.

X.509 certificates are installed by an Administrator or any user in the machine. However the certificate may be accessed by a service running under a different account (for example, the ASPNET on Windows XP or the NETWORK SERVICE accounts on Windows Server 2003).

This account may not have access to the private key file because the certificate was not installed by it originally. The FindPrivateKey tool gives you the location of a given X.509 Certificate's private key file. You can add permissions or remove permissions to this file once you know the location of the particular X.509 certificates' private key file.

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