A digital certificate is a kind of password for reading and understanding encrypted electronic messages. These certificates are a mode of creating a secure online environment. The person who has installed the digital certificate can only read the contents of any message other wise not. Digital certificates gets installed when you browse through any secure website and then if the certificate is a legitimate one you continue browsing other wise you are prompted by Windows that the certificate could not be verified. A digital certificate can be obtained by Certificate Authority (CA) and they add your certificate in their database. This is the agency with which Windows verifies the authenticity of any certificate.

Microsoft operating systems have a service in them called as Certificate Service which allows a website to revoke and issue a digital certificate. If this service is not running then your computer would not be able to verify the certificate and neither would any website be able to install its certificate. The certificate service cannot be installed on Windows XP (both Home and Pro) because it is designed only for the Server edition of Windows 2003 and Windows 2000. In the section below we will describe the steps to install the Digital Certificate Service on your computer running on Windows 2003 or Windows 2000 server editions.

To install the Digital Certificate Service, click on the start button and open the Control Panel. In Control Panel open Add or Remove Programs and when it comes up click on Add Remove Windows Components. Once this Window comes up click on the check box next to Certificate Services to check it and then click on Next. It will ask for your confirmation and you need to press on Yes. After this place a check mark next to the Enterprise Root CA option and again click on Next. Then it will ask you to enter the name of your certificate authority’s name. After entering this name click on Next. This will open the certificate database services page. If you wish you can change name for certificate database location or just click on next with the default values. Now it will ask for your confirmation to restart the Internet Information Services. Once the IIS service starts click on Next. Now the wizard will might ask you insert the operating system disk in case it needs to install some missing components. Insert the disk if prompted else wait for the service to get installed. After this click on Finish and close all the control panel windows. It is recommended that you restart you computer once for all the changes to take effect and the new service to start themselves on reboot. Once you are back you have got the Certificate Services installed and running.

This installation process of Certificate services created a folder on your hard drive in which it stores all the certificates and certificate files. Make sure that this folder is safe and does not get deleted accidentally or intentionally other wise the Certificate service will not run properly.