Disappearing SSL certificates from IIS 7.0 manager

“I install a SSL server certificate using the ‘Complete Certificate Request’ wizard in IIS manager and when I refresh the view the certificate disappears. “

I have heard that a couple of times and every time I used to go “What ?” Until someone showed it to me.

If you are one of those who are wondering about this read on.

The Server Certificates module in IIS manager displays a list of certificates from the Local Machine SSL store.

But it only lists the certificate if

1. The certificate has a private key

2. The certificate is meant for Server Authentication

And this is where the disappearing act occurs.

The IIS Manager enumerates all the extensions of the certificate and checks if OID (Extended Key Usage) exists. If it does the certificate Enhanced Key Usage section must contain  (Server Authentication).

In the repro’ I was shown the user had actually downloaded the intermediate certificate and used that .cer file to complete the certificate request. In this case the wizard will go thro’ all the steps but when you refresh the view the certificate will not be listed.

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Comments (25)

  1. Pawel says:

    Hi there, I had the same issue as mentioned in your post. I have found a solution whereby you need to export certificate from certificates.msc concole to a certificate.pfx file. Please make sure to export it with a private key and password protect it. Once this is done you can import the certificate in iis by using import option instead of complete certification request. This keeps the certificate in server certificates console and you can bind the website to the certificate.



  2. mbg says:

    when i try exporting my cer file as pfx in the mmc, the pfx option is greyed out 🙁 anyone else had this problem?

  3. I had the same problem. Once I had the cert re-issued with a new request key it worked.

  4. Ryan Fox says:

    I've found the problem can be reproduced when the leaf certificate has been installed under Intermediate Certification Authorities.  Removing it (and leaving any real intermediate, if applicable) then completing the wizard corrects the problem.

  5. Nick Olsen says:

    I had the same problem.  I was missing the private key in my certificate.  I wrote instructions on how to resolve this issue here: nickstips.wordpress.com/…/iis-disappearing-ssl-certificate-problem-resolved

  6. Jo MSO says:

    My solution was found by changing the files I had to a .pfx file and importing it, go to the following: nickstips.wordpress.com/…/sql-ssl-and-sql-server-2008-creating-the-certificate

  7. pixelloa says:

    OR it could be the cert (Network solutions is notorious for this as they charge $150 for helping to install it) doesn't actually have a privatge key.  Here are instructions to make the PFX if you have no private key.

    To fix this, use the MMC snapin to import the cert into PERSONAL, click it and grab the serial # line.  Go to dos, run certutil -repairstore my "paste the serial 3 in here" (you need the quotes) then refresh MMC with personal certs, right click it – export – select everything except DELETE PRIVATE KEY, hit ok.  Then go to IIS and IMPORT cert instead of finish request.  

    bingo – fixed.

    And bite me netsol.

  8. john_act says:

    You are the best, pixelloa!

    And I second your statement about netsol

  9. Anthony says:

    pixelloa, your suggestion worked.

    Nice one, thanks.

  10. parikh says:

    Hello pixelloa

    can you please tell me that how can i use certutil -repairstore?



  11. JBrunelle says:

    If anyone is still watching this thread… I came across this with a digicert cert as well. What I did was import it anyway into IIS. After adding it, but before it disappeared I right-clicked and selected view on the cert, went to the Details tab, and selected copy to file. Selected to export the private key, and assigned a password. Then I refreshed (cert was gone) and re-imported the now .pfx cert and entered the password.

    Worked like a charm.

    1. Import cert anyway

    2. Right-click > View

    3. Details tab > Copy to File

    4. Export PK, assign password, export as .pfx

    5. Import new .pfx

  12. Peej says:

    I found that this happened on one of our WFEs for Sharepoint. The two WFEs load-balanced the same name but I'd only submitted a certificate request from one of the WFEs for that common name. You have to do two separate ones (one from each server) and submit them – so even though both are referred to by the same DNS name, the requests are distinctly different. Once done, you can add each individual certificate to IIS and the problem disappears (rather than your certificates!)

  13. Richard Watson says:

    Thanks to pixelloa for the path forward to solving this rather obtuse problem.

  14. Federico says:

    Thanks a lot pixelloa!

    Worked like a charm.

  15. G says:

    Thanks a lot pixelloa!

    Worked for me

  16. Vive Mishra says:

    I have .P7B file and when I am completing the CSR request its getting disappear. Its available on MMC but when I export .PFX option is greyed out. Nothing is working for me.

    Please help

  17. The Bitland Prince says:


    you're da man ! 😉 FYI, I had this problem with RapidSSL cert too.

  18. Gunther says:

    Nice try pixelloa and JBrunelle but in either case I still cannot come out of the process with a pfx (still greyed out upon export).

  19. Anon says:

    For anyone who runs into this issue for wildcard certs.  I originally updated our Exchange server to a renewed wildcard cert FIRST.  When I tried to add the same cert to IIS, it would disappear.  The fix was to EXPORT the cert via Exchange, with the private-key, and then Import the .pfx on IIS.  Make sure your friendly name matches the wildcard URL.  I did not need to "repairstore" or anything like that, as Exchange was using a valid cert.

  20. DavidW says:

    I have tried to use certutil -repairstore in windows 8.1 and it keep ask me select a smart card device? I haven't setup any smart card. Why keep ask me?

  21. Christian says:

    OMG Pixelloa – your solution worked. Nothing else worked for me. No PFX convertions rekey, re-CSR nothing! This worked like a charm. Thank you so much

  22. Antal Alin says:

    You should install .CER in the same machine that you used to create the certificate request, by using Complete Certificate Request. After that you can export it as .PFX and install it into any other machine

  23. Lex Li says:

    Wrote a blog post to cover all details about this issue, from requesting the certificate to installing it properly, blog.lextudio.com/…/the-whole-story-of-server-certificate-disappears-in-iis-77-588-510-0-after-installing-it-why

  24. Arvin Amir says:

    Hello, had the same problem.  You need to ensure you are installing on the same server as the one you created the "CSR" file from.  Otherwise, it wont have the private keys.  

    If you got your cert, just ask to re-key, it will ask for a new CSR file.

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