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Default permissions for the MachineKeys folders

Support for Windows Server 2003 ended on July 14, 2015

Microsoft ended support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article was previously published under Q278381
The MachineKeys folder stores certificate pair keys for both the computer and users. Both Certificate services and Internet Explorer use this folder. The default permissions on the folder may be misleading when you attempt to determine the minimum permissions that are necessary for proper installation and the accessing of certificates.
The MachineKeys folder is located under the All Users Profile\Application Data\Microsoft\Crypto\RSA folder. If the administrator did not set the folder to the minimum level, a user may receive the "Failed to Generate Certificate Request" and "Internal Server Error: The Private Key that you are importing might require a cryptographic service provider that is not installed on your system" error messages when the user generates a server certificate by using Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS). The following settings are the default permissions for the MachineKeys folder:
Administrators	 (Full Control)		This folder onlyEveryone	         (Special)		This folder only

To view the special permissions for the Everyone group, right-click the MachineKeys folder, click Advanced on the Security tab, and then click View/Edit. The permissions consist of the following permissions:
  • List Folder/Read Data
  • Read Attributes
  • Read Extended Attributes
  • Create Files/Write Data
  • Create Folders/Append Data
  • Write Attributes
  • Write Extended Attributes
  • Read Permissions
Select the Reset Permissions on all Child objects and enable propagation of inheritable permissions check box. The administrator does not have full control on child objects to protect a user's private part of the key pair. However, the administrator can still delete certificates for a user.

For more information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
271071How to set required NTFS permissions and user rights for an IIS 5.0, IIS 5.1, or IIS 6.0 Web server
812614 Default permissions and user rights for IIS 6.0
CA cert FEK encryption IIS keyset not found

Article ID: 278381 - Last Review: 01/25/2012 17:21:00 - Revision: 7.0

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition Service Pack 6
  • kbenv kbinfo KB278381