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Distribute Certificates to Client Computers Using Group Policy

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

You can use this procedure to push down the appropriate Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates (or equivalent certificates that chain to a trusted root) for account federation servers, resource federation servers, and Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS)–enabled Web servers to each client computer in the account partner forest by using Group Policy.

Administrative credentials

Membership in Domain Admins or Enterprise Admins, or equivalent, in Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review details about using the appropriate accounts and group memberships at Local and Domain Default Groups (

To distribute certificates to client computers using Group Policy

  1. On a domain controller in the forest of the account partner organization, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Group Policy Management.

  2. Find an existing Group Policy object (GPO) or create a new GPO to contain the certificate settings. Ensure that the GPO is associated with the domain, site, or organizational unit (OU) where the appropriate user and computer accounts reside.

  3. Right-click the GPO, and then click Edit.

  4. In the console tree, open Computer Configuration\Policies\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Public Key Policies, right-click Trusted Root Certification Authorities, and then click Import.

  5. On the Welcome to the Certificate Import Wizard page, click Next.

  6. On the File to Import page, type the path to the appropriate certificate files (for example, \\adfsresource\c$\adfsresource.cer), and then click Next.

  7. On the Certificate Store page, click Place all certificates in the following store, and then click Next.

  8. On the Completing the Certificate Import Wizard page, verify that the information you provided is accurate, and then click Finish.

  9. Repeat steps 2 through 6 to add additional certificates for each of the AD FS servers.