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Install a certificate for Microsoft Exchange 2010/2013/2016/2019

Please note: since March 2020, the TLS1.2 protocol is mandatory: More information

1- Preparation

certificate in Exchange 2010/2013/2016/2019, if, when creating a certificate request (CSR):

  • You have used the Microsoft Exchange wizard, use the wizard to import (in theExchange Management Console, at the Server Organization root, choose Import Exchange Certificate.)
  • You used the Exchange shell, you have to launch the cmdlet Import-ExchangeCertificate (and not use the MMC !)
  • You have used our online tool KeyBot, you must generate a certificate in PFX format ("Generate PFX / PEM" button from the status page of your certificate)

In the first two cases, you must import the certificate and the entire chain (format .p7b), not just the final certificate. This file is offered to you as a "global installation file" in the delivery email and is available on your status page, under "View the certificate", and "View the certificate in PKCS7 format".

2- Importation through the shell

To import a certificate in .p7b format, use the following syntax:

Import-ExchangeCertificate -FileData ([Byte[]]$(Get-Content -Path "\\chemin\de\votre\certificat.p7b" -Encoding byte -ReadCount 0)) | Enable-ExchangeCertificate -Services "SMTP, IMAP, POP, IIS"

Import PFX file (#PKCS12) with the password in the commande line :

Import-ExchangeCertificate -FileName "\\chemin\de\votre\certificat.pfx" -Password (ConvertTo-SecureString -String 'P@ssw0rd1' -AsPlainText -Force)

For the example above:
'P@ssw0rd1' : type the password defined when creating the PFX

Please note: Your certificate may not be installed even after the execution of this command. In that case, you should follow the manual activation process described below:

In Exchange: manual activation of an already installed certificate

In the event of an import error, or during a manual import of the certificate alone by the MMC for example, you will then need to activate and associate the exchange services with your new certificate:

  • 1) Get the "Thumbprint" number of your certificate with the command:
  • Get-ExchangeCertificate -DomainName ""

    Copy / Paste the "Thumbprint" number.
    If you see your certificate's name several times, add " | fl " at the end of the command and find the last certificate by comparing their expiration date or their serial number (your certificate's serial number is available on it's status page).

    Get-ExchangeCertificate -DomainName "" | fl

  • 1 - bis) Find the "Thumbprint" number via the MMC :
  • Open the MMC and select your new certificate :

    Run : MMC 
    - Add/Remove Snap in
    - Certificates : Add 
    - Computer Account : Next
    - Local Computer : Finish

    In "certificates" >> "personal" select your certificate

    Right click - Detail information
    Find the field named"Thumprint"
    Copy and paste (without spaces)

  • 2) Then activate your certificate:
  • Enable-ExchangeCertificate
    cmdlet Enable-ExchangeCertificate at command pipeline position 1
    Supply values for the following parameters:
    Services: SMTP,IIS,IMAP,POP
    Thumbprint: CE20B70F780CDFD72878F5496931F1A8AF1798A2
    Overwrite existing default SMTP certificate,
    '43B7977C504C7A84422CB815065E1DE34D52CBD3' (expires 12/04/2015 12:42:43)
    with certificate,
    'CE20B70F780CDFD72878F5496931F1A8AF1798A2' (expires 21/05/2012 01:59:59)?
    [Y] Yes  [A] Yes to All [N] No  [L] No to All [S] Suspend [?] Help (default is " Y "): Y

To import a .P7B file use the following syntax:

Import-ExchangeCertificate -FileData ([Byte[]](Get-Content -Encoding Byte -Path "\\FileServer01\Data\Chain of Certificates.p7b" -ReadCount 0))]

Error importing a certificate because of a pre-existing one

If you receive an error message saying it is impossible to import a pfx because a certificate with the same thumbprint,it is possible that you've tried to install a p7b file while your server didn't have the corresponding private key. To solve this problem, read our documentation about how to delete a certificate on Windows Server.

Build a PFX from Exchange 2010/2013/2016/2019

To generate a pfx, you can either search the certificate by domain, or by thumbprint. Enter one of the two following commands:

$file = Get-ExchangeCertificate -DomainName | Export-ExchangeCertificate -BinaryEncoded:$true -Password (Get-Credential).password


$file = Export-ExchangeCertificate -Thumbprint YOUR_THUMBPRINT -BinaryEncoded:$true -Password (Get-Credential).password

Once the certificate loaded with this command, you can write the following command in a file

Set-Content -Path “c:\your-certificat.pfx” -Value $file.FileData -Encoding Byte

You can also use our certificate exportation procedure via MMC available here: "Create a certificate back-up".

Common issue:
"revocation check failed"

This issue is caused by Exchange that wants to check the CRL during the certificate importation. If its tool (using WinHTTP) can't access the web, the operation fails.

Troubleshoot: See our FAQ about OCSP protocol support

Common issue: The Certificate is Invalid for Exchange Server Usage

This generally comes from the installation of a certificate without the certification chain (.cer) via the GUI interface. We recommend using the powershell and installing our .p7b file.

In that situation, the better way to solve the issue is to request a certificate reissuance and to follow our instructions with the powershell.

You can also try to install the missing chain manually.

Check your certificate installation with Co-Pibot:

On your certificate status page, click on the button "Check your certificate" to make sure your certificate has been correctly installed.

Useful links