The CERTREQ command in Windows CMD is used for certificate request processing. It allows users to create new certificate requests, submit existing requests to a certification authority (CA), and retrieve the result. This command is commonly used in scenarios where automated or script-based certificate management is necessary, such as in server deployments or secure environments.


The basic syntax for CERTREQ is as follows:

CERTREQ [-submit | -retrieve] [options] [FileName]


  1. Submit a request:
    CERTREQ -submit [options] [RequestFileIn [CertFileOut [CertChainFileOut [FullResponseFileOut]]]]
  2. Retrieve a response:
    CERTREQ -retrieve [options] RequestID [CertFileOut [CertChainFileOut [FullResponseFileOut]]]


  • -submit: Submits a certificate request to a CA.

  • -retrieve: Retrieves the response to a previous request by its ID.

  • -attrib: Specifies additional attributes to be added to the request, often used for specifying certificate template details.


    -attrib "CertificateTemplate:User"
  • -config: Specifies the CA configuration in the format CAName\CAServerName.


    -config "CAName\ServerName"
  • -rpc: Uses RPC protocol instead of HTTP for submitting the request to the CA server.

Default Values

  • If -config is not specified, CERTREQ automatically selects the default CA.


  1. Submit a New Request

    CERTREQ -submit -attrib "CertificateTemplate:WebServer" newreq.txt newcert.cer

    This command submits a new certificate request stored in newreq.txt using the WebServer template, and writes the certificate to newcert.cer.

  2. Retrieve a Certificate by Request ID

    CERTREQ -retrieve 1234 retrievedCert.cer

    Retrieves the certificate corresponding to request ID 1234 and saves it as retrievedCert.cer.

Common Issues

  • Configuration Errors: Sometimes users specify incorrect CA configuration. Always verify the CA configuration with CERTUTIL -config -.
  • Permission Issues: Ensure the user has the necessary permissions to submit or retrieve certificates from the specified CA.


CERTREQ can be integrated with automation scripts to handle certificate provisioning. For example, combining it with SCHTASKS to automate certificate renewal:

SCHTASKS /Create /SC DAILY /TN RenewCert /TR "CMD /C CERTREQ -submit -config 'CA\Server' renew.txt"
  • CERTUTIL: Useful for managing certificates, CRLs, and certificate stores.
  • MAKECERT: Generates certificates for testing (not recommended for production environments).

For more detailed information and further reading, consult the official Microsoft documentation on CERTREQ.