Windows User Certificate Roaming

I spent a while recently wondering if it was possible to have certificates follow users between machines, in this case certificates used for 802.1x authentication, because I didn’t want our CA issuing a new certificate every time a user logged onto a new machine. It seemed logical that such a facility must exist but I couldn’t find anything useful until I stumbled upon it almost by accident while looking for something else certificate-related.

What I was after is Credential Roaming, which is basically a roaming profile system for certificates (and saved user credentials but that wasn’t really a consideration). Once enabled, credential roaming will store user credentials attached to their AD account object and download them to the local machine on logon, then on log off sync everything back up to the AD object again. Obviously there are things to consider here, especially if you have a lot of users and they have a lot of certificates, but you can set limits on the maximum store size (the default is 64k) and certificates are pretty small anyway – plus most of the features only work with Vista and later, but frankly if you’re still running XP then you’ve got to expect things not to work properly.

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