Digital certificates are tools that can help when carry out procedures online that have to do with public administration. They can be stored in the browser, to be used whenever necessary. In Spain they are delivered by the National Currency and Stamp Factory (FNMT). Although they are also granted by those authorized professional associations or by the European Digital Trust Agency.
It is always advisable to export your certificate to a pendrive to create a backup copy on and off your computer. This in case the equipment you use constantly suffers any failure or if the browser has problems. The process for obtaining these is a bit cumbersome, Because you should not only request it online, but you must personally go to a registry office. Which requires a lot of time, so once you have it it is important that you make a backup that will not take more than a few minutes.
In this tutorial we are going to explain step by step how to export a digital certificate to a pendrive. In the same way how to use it in other browsers. Be careful when choosing the device you are going to use to store your certificate. Make sure it is for strictly personal use and that it is only used in places that you completely trust.
What are the reasons and uses why we are going to need to download a digital certificate to import it to another PC?
There may be different reasons that drive you to create a copy of a digital certificate, one of them will be to send it to another computer. As we mentioned earlier These are used for public administration procedures, under the name of the certificate holder himself.
This means that another person will not be able to use your data to carry out their own procedures, that is why it is important that each user has their own. They can be used in different browsers or from another computer with the help of a pendrive or portable memory to be able to install it again, and thus save yourself the trouble of making a new request and downloading it.
You will surely wonder What is one of these for? This has several functions, some of them are for sign certain documents like PDF and Word. Also to be able identify yourself through the Internet correctly.
On the other hand, it offers benefits, such as the power securely access bank data and Electronic Administration, also helps in the streamlining of procedures and other administrative procedures online. That is why it is essential to download and import it to any other (external) computer to protect it.
Steps to export and import a digital certificate from one computer to another
The main thing and more It is important to have a digital certificate already downloaded to your computer. Regardless of which web browser it is in, you will only have to follow a series of steps that may vary a bit depending on the one you use to carry out the process.
The recommended browsers for this are: Internet Explorer (Edge) and Mozilla Firefox, although you can use Google Chrome and others of your choice.
From Google Chrome
Before creating the copy of your security certificate in Google Chrome, verify that you have installed your digital certificate and the keys to which they are associated. You will be able to see them in the “Certificate Store”.
The steps to be carried out are the following:
- You’re going to press the button “Menu”.
- Then choose the option “Setting”.
- Now you will proceed to search “Advanced settings”. For this you are going to go down a bit on the screen, it is at the bottom.
- You are going to look for the option of “Manage certificates”.
- In the tab that says “Personal” you are going to choose the certificate that belongs to you and then you will click on “To export”.
- Now a window will open that says “Wizard to export certificates”. In it you will click “Next”.
- Check the option “Export the private key” and then press “Next”.
- In the other window that will appear, you are not going to change any parameters you’re just going to press “Next”.
- In the next tab you must create a password, which will protect the file that you are going to create with your online certification data. You are going to choose the option “Password” and then you must place the new key, make sure it is difficult to guess and that you can remember without problems.
- Now you just type the same password again to confirm and press “Next”.
- Now you are going to define the location where you will save the file, for this you will click on “Examine” and you will indicate the destination. In this case, you want it to be a device USB (pendrive).
- You just have to connect the storage device to the PC and find the storage address of it. Indicate the name of the file, you can use: identificationcertificate.pfx. Finally, you are going to click on “Next”.
- You will click on “Finalize”.
- A new window will open, just in case the digital certificate you are exporting has an entry key, which was created when it was generated or created. This will be by name CryptoAPI private key. There you just go click “To accept”.
- The wizard will give you a notice that the export was successful, just click “To accept”.
- Finally and the more important, you are going to locate the file you have created and you must change the extension .pfx to .p12. Although both are equivalent, there are applications that request the certificate for .p12. (It is a necessary process for each file you export regardless of which browser you do it from).
- To change the file extension you just have to do right click on the file and choose the option “Rename”, delete extension .pfx and place .p12.
From Mozilla Firefox
As in previous cases, first make sure the certificates you are going to export are installed in the browser, If this is the case, we proceed to carry out the processes to create a backup copy of these to use them on another computer.
It should be noted that if the browser is deleted, if you reinstall Windows or format and change the PC you will lose everything and you will have to request it again, so a backup is essential.
- Look for the option “Menu” then choose “Options”, followed by this choose “Privacy & Security” and finally “Certificates”. There you will choose “See certificates”.
- It is possible that the system will ask you to enter a password. This will be the one that belongs to the digital certificate you have created.
- You are going to go to the tab “Your certificates” and you are going to choose the one you are going to export and then you will click on “Make a copy”.
- You will now proceed to indicate the path where the file will be saved, in this case it will be a portable storage device, we indicate that path, followed by the name with which we are going to identify the file. You will click on “To accept” to continue.
- You are now going to create a backup password, which will protect the file you are making the backup copy of, This same password will be requested each time the file is installed on a new computer or browser.
- You must create a password between 4 to 8 digits, worries that it is not easy to guess and avoid using personal data, birthday dates or the like. But that you can remember it and do not forget it easily. Confirm the password and press “To accept”.
- The system will send you a message advising that the export has been completed successfully, just click on “To accept”.
From Microsoft Edge (Explorer)
Regrettably exporting digital certificates from Microsoft Edge is not possible, the same program does not allow its users any action in relation to them.
But we can use internet explore for this purpose, since it is fully functional and should not present failures at the time of use.
- Login to “Internet explore”.
- Click on “Setting” and then in “Internet Options”.
- You will press the window “Content” and you are going to select the option “Certificates”.
- Your personal certificate will appear with your name and surname, which you can locate in the tab “Personal”, select it and go click “To export”.
- In the window “Wizard to export certificates” just press “Next”.
- Do not change any of the parameters that appear on the screen, just press “Next”. The parameters that will appear on the screen are the following: “PKCS # 12 Personal Information Exchange (.PFX)” / “Include all certificates in the certification path” (if possible).
- Now you just have to create a key to enter every time you are going to install the certificate on another computer or browser. This allows a maximum of 8 digits.
- By last, decide where you want to save the file. Since you want to use an external memory or pendrive, this you will connect it to the computer and you will indicate the path of it to be saved and the name of the memory. Press “Next” and finally “Finalize”.
- I may ask you for the private exchange key; This is the one used when using the digital certificate from the browser.
I have forgotten the password for the digital certificate, how do I recover it?
If you forgot your password to be able to enter your digital certificate and be able to use it, there is no remote way you can retrieve it. So you will have to go to the Public Administration center, where you have made the request and report that you lost it.
After that you will have to create a new digital certificate and perform the steps again for its correct installation in your browser.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will also be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉