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Microsoft KB Archive/174781

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Knowledge Base

Key Storage File Is Invalid Msg. When Try to Recover a Certificate

Article ID: 174781

Article Last Modified on 6/22/2005


  • Microsoft Internet Information Server 3.0

This article was previously published under Q174781

We strongly recommend that all users upgrade to Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) version 6.0 running on Microsoft Windows Server 2003. IIS 6.0 significantly increases Web infrastructure security. For more information about IIS security-related topics, visit the following Microsoft Web site:


When you try to install or reinstall a certificate, you will get the following error message:

Key storage file is invalid.


When a certificate is installed on Internet Information Server (IIS), both an .Req (certificate request) file and a number of encrypted registry entries are created for the key pair.

When you try to replace a certificate by just putting the .Req file back in place, you will get the above error message. It is necessary to have a backup of the complete private key and the request file to successfully reinstall the certificate.

In order to successfully reinstall a certificate, a current and complete back up of the registry or a full certificate backup from within Key Manager is required.


To back up a certificate from within Key Manager, click Key, select Export File, then select Backup. This will generate a warning screen and then allow a complete certificate back up to be made.

NOTE: The warning concerns the possibility that if someone else gets a copy of the complete certificate, they will be able to "spoof" or mimic the legitimate site. Appropriate security measures must be taken to ensure that the copy of the complete certificate is not available to non-authorized users.

Keywords: kberrmsg kbprb KB174781