IIS 6: Setting up SSL - Appendix B: Obtaining a Root Certificate from Windows Server 2003 Certificate Services

In this second appendix for my blog series about using SSL with IIS 6, I'm going to discuss obtaining the root certificate from Windows Server 2003 Certificate Services. By way of explanation, obtaining a root certificate is one of the most important steps for servers or clients that will use certificates that you issue. While this step is not necessary on the server where you installed Certificate Services, it is absolutely essential on your other servers or clients, because this step will allow those computers to trust your certificate server as a Certificate Authority (CA). Without that trust in place, you will either receive error messages or SSL simply won't work.

I've broken this process into two steps:

Downloading the Root Certificate

  1. Browse to your certificate server's address, (e.g. http://<server-name>/certsrv/), and choose to retrieve the CA certificate:

  2. Click the link to download the CA certificate:

  3. Choose to save the certificate file to disk:

  4. Save the file to your desktop:

Note: If you were to bring up the properties for the root certificate, the certificate's icon should show an error; this is because the certificate has not been imported.

Installing the Root Certificate

Before using any certificates that you issue on a computer, you need to install the Root Certificate. (This includes web servers and clients.)

  1. Double-click the file on your desktop:

  2. Click the "Install Certificate" button:

  3. Click "Next" to start the Certificate Import Wizard:

  4. Choose to automatically choose the store:

  5. Click the "Finish" button:

  6. Click "Yes" when asked if you want to add the certificate:

    NOTE: This step is very important. If you do not see this dialog, something went wrong, and you may need to manually place the certificate in the correct store.
  7. Click "OK" when informed that the import was successful.

Note: If you were to bring up the properties for the root certificate after you have installed it on your computer, you should see that the icon for the certificate no longer shows an error.

That's it for this post. In my next blog post, I'll discuss processing a certificate request.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/

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