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Automate Requests for New Certificates

Recently, all Windows XP workstation users within a corporate domain were required to request and install a certificate from the Enterprise Certificate Authority (Active Directory Certificate Services). Typically, the Certificate Manager Management console Snap-in Control (certmgr.msc) is used to request new certificates, as in the screenshot shown below. So, I was required to automate this process using a script that could be pushed to all the Windows XP workstations and executed.


A tool called certreq.exe enables command-line execution of the steps performed by certmgr.msc. Hence, I developed a simple MS-DOS batch script using certreq.exe to automate the process of requesting new certificates from an Active Directory CA. You may download the ZIP file below to view/use the script:


Instructions to use

(1)   Unzip using WinZip, 7-zip or your favourite decompression software. A directory called RequestCert will be created with the following files:

  • RequestCert.bat : This is the MS-DOS batch file that uses certreq.exe to automate the Certificate Request process
  • RequestCert.inf : This is the setup file containing information required by certreq.exe.
  • certreq.exe : Microsoft tool (bundled with Windows SDK)

(2)    Edit RequestCert.bat and set the value for the variables CA_SERVER (FQDN/IP/hostname of the CA server) and CA_NAME (Name of the CA).

(3)    Edit RequestCert.inf and set the value of CertificateTemplate, if required.

(4)    Execute RequestCert.bat

NOTE: RequestCert.bat met my requirement which was really basic. You may amend the script and the INF file to automate Certificate Requests for other requirements.

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