Windows 2000 can use digital certificates for
authentication, digitally signing messages, exchanging encrypted e-mail
messages, encrypting files, and other purposes. The certificates are stored on
the computer in a certificate store, which organizes the certificates by
intended purpose and source. For example, all of the certificates from trusted
root certification authorities are stored in the same area of the store.

It’s a good idea to back up the certificates to protect
against a system failure and to make it possible to easily move the
certificates to another computer if needed. Windows offers multiple tools for
managing certificates, including the Certificates MMC console snap-in, Internet
Explorer, and Outlook Express. Use the following steps to back up certificates
with Internet Explorer:

  1. Open
    Internet Explorer and choose Tools | Internet Options.
  2. Click
    the Content tab, and then click Certificates.
  3. From
    the Intended Purpose drop-down list, choose All.
  4. Click
    on the tab that identifies the area of the certificate store where the
    certificates to be backed up are located. For example, click the Personal
    tab to back up personal certificates.
  5. Click
    a certificate in the list and click Export to start the Certificate Export
  6. Choose
    Yes, export the private key, and click Next.
  7. Accept
    the default settings for Export File Format and click Next.
  8. Specify
    a password to protect the certificate file and click Next.
  9. Specify
    a file name for the certificate and click Next,
    then click Finish.

With the certificate now stored in a file, back up the file
to a safe location such as a secure network share, floppy disk (secured in a
safe location), or other media. You can restore the certificate to the computer
later or install it on another computer by importing the certificate from the
backup copy.

Want more Win2K tips and tricks? Automatically sign up for our free Windows 2000 Professional newsletter, delivered each Tuesday!