Firefox: How do I troubleshoot adding Certificates with PolicyPak and Firefox?

There are various areas you should troubleshoot FIRST with FF and Certificates.

Shortest possible answer to 99% of problems with FF + Certificates:

  1.  Do you have the LATEST CSE on the endpoint? STOP: Make sure.
  2.  Also; couldn’t hurt to upgrade your MMC console to latest version.
  3. Are you using the LATEST Firefox pak? STOP: Make sure.
  4. Re-open and re-save the cert as a DER binary; even if you think it is that way already. (See Step 3 in the longer article below.)
  5. Change the file extention from .cer to .der
  6. Ensure your syntax is correct \\DC\Share\Fabrikam-CA.cer, 2, ROOT, add And NOT: \\DC\Share\Fabrikam-CA.cer, ROOT, 2, add
  7. If you tried CA or ROOT… try the other one.

Longer troubleshooting (which you absolutely must go thru before we can do anything more… and you must do these step by step.)

Step 1: Check the compatibility chart first

Step 2: Watch the PolicyPak and Firefox cert video for a how-to

Step 3:
The most common reason certificates fail to import is because they are the WRONG FORMAT.
PolicyPak only imports certificates which are ALREADY in what’s called the BINARY DER format.

Full details on how to do this are in the document
PolicyPak Application Settings Manager – Using the Firefox Pak.PDF
Located in the customer portal.

If you are UNSURE if your cert is BINARY DER or not, here’s what you can do to ENSURE that it is BINARY DER.

If the CERT is a-ok inside Firefox ALREADY, you can then EXPORT it like this to ensure it is a BINARY DER file.


When you save, save it as a .DER extension.

Step 4: Look at the PolicyPak ppSwitched.log file
Look in appdata\local\username\policypak\policypak application manager inside ppSwitched.log.

Does it appear that PolicyPak is trying at all?

Processing FF: Certificates
Adding certificate C:\ABC.cer to root store. Replace interval: always
Adding certificate C:\DEF.cer to ca store. Replace interval: always

If yes, that’s good.

Step 5: Is the PolicyPak Firefox Plug in working?

You can also use Firefox’s log by being on any page and clicking Ctrl+Shift+J.

In the log below certificates being added to the proper stores. You can also see ERROR CONDITIONS as well which are helpful for troubleshooting.


Step 5: Other reasons your cert just isn’t working

  • The certificate is not designed to work in the store of your choice. For instance, you’ve selected an email certificate and tried to use it in the ROOT or CA store. Self signed certs are best in the ROOT store, and not the CA store.
  • You have misspelled the name of the file. For instance, the file is really named \\server\share\file123.cer but you specified \\server\share\file123 or \\server\share\file123.x509  or \\server\share\file1.DER ?
  • When specifying a certificate and the number of days that PolicyPak should check for updates, you transpose the values. The correct way to specify a cert and check every, say, 2 days is\\DC\Share\Fabrikam-CA.cer, 2, CA, add
    And NOT:
    \\DC\Share\Fabrikam-CA.cer, CA, 2, add
    In the logs, you would see this transposition error demonstrated as:how-do-i-troubleshoot-adding-certificates-with-policypak-and-firefox-2

Step 6: Send us your cert, and we’ll send you ours.

We can try to see if YOUR CERT works in OUR environment.
We can also send you OUR TEST CERT and see if it works in YOURs.