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Solution ID : SO1229

Last Modified : 05/02/2018

Warning "An application is requesting access to a protected item"

Problem

When trying to use the Personal Email certificate during client authentication or email encryption within a Windows operating system, the following warning occurs:

"This program is trying to access a protected item"

or

"An application is requesting access to a protected item"
 

Cause

If 'strong key protection' is enabled this warning appears everytime accessing the private key

Solution

The workaround to this error message is to export the private key and certificate from the browser as a .pfx file and import back in without selecting strong encryption.

The following steps will provide the process:

To Export your Certificate/Key Pair from Microsoft Internet Explorer:

  1. From the menu bar, click on Tools > Internet Options.
  2. Click on the Content tab.
  3. Click on the Certificates button.
  4. In the Personal tab, select the certificate you wish to export.
  5. Click on Export.
  6. Click on Next.
  7. Select the Yes, export the Private Key option.
  8. Click on Next.
  9. Select the option Include all certificates in the certification path if possible
    Do not select Enable strong protection
  10. Click on Next.
  11. Enter the password to protect the certificate and private key being exported. Enter this password again to confirm then click Next.
  12. Browse to the directory where you wish to store the file and select a file name( you need to save it as .pfx file).
  13. Click Save and then Next.
  14. Click on Finish.

    You should see the message "The export was successful." 

 

To Import your Certificate/Key Pair into Microsoft Internet Explorer:

  1. From the menu bar, click on Tools > Internet Options.
  2. Click on the Content tab.
  3. Click on the Certificates button.
  4. Click on Import.
  5. Select the certificate file. (Please note that the file created in steps above is with the extension .pfx. You need to view all files types to be able to select the file.)
  6. Click on Next.
  7. Enter the password that was used to protect the file.
  8. Select the box Mark the private key as exportable.
    Do not select Enable strong private key protection
  9. Click on Next.
    Note: The box Automatically select the certificate store based on the type of certificate should remain checked.
  10. Click on Next.
  11. Click on Finish.

    You should see the message "The import was successful."