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Certificate File Formats

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

Certificate import and export operations support four file formats. Choose the format that meets your specific requirements.

  • Personal Information Exchange (PKCS #12)

    The Personal Information Exchange format (PFX, also called PKCS #12) supports secure storage of certificates, private keys, and all certificates in a certification path.

    The PKCS #12 format is the only file format that can be used to export a certificate and its private key.

  • Cryptographic Message Syntax Standard (PKCS #7)

    The PKCS #7 format supports storage of certificates and all certificates in the certification path.

  • DER-encoded binary X.509

    The Distinguished Encoding Rules (DER) format supports storage of a single certificate. This format does not support storage of the private key or certification path.

  • Base64-encoded X.509

    The Base64 format supports storage of a single certificate. This format does not support storage of the private key or certification path.

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