I can start individual Management Console snap-ins by starting them directly without going through starting mmc.exe and selecting the snap-ins I want.

However, for certmgr.msc selecting in MMC gives me the option to load certmgr for the computer account, which is usually what I need. How can I load certmgr for the computer account from the command line?

6 Answers 6


Save the .msc file to a file share and just call the UNC.

What I did was create the .msc file (as answered above) but I saved it to a network resource. When I go to the next server, I can call the UNC via the RUN and done the local computer's certificate manager opens up as the Computer Account too. I tested it across a couple different IIS boxes and found it was indeed unique and the computer's account.


If you have 2012R1/Win8 or later: You can use certlm.msc (Certificates Local Machine) instead of certmgr.msc. That will open the computer certificate store.

  • 1
    Thanks for this tip - copying certlm.msc from a Win8 machine is easier than creating a new msc file for my colleagues.
    – Scott Rhee
    Apr 24, 2014 at 1:45
  • @ScottRhee, Are you sure that's going to work reliably?
    – Pacerier
    Nov 16, 2014 at 22:15
  • @Pacerier, a few colleagues of mine tried that and I've got no problem so far.
    – Scott Rhee
    Nov 17, 2014 at 3:44
  • A useful option of using certlm.msc over certmgr.msc is that it allows to change which computer's store you are working with.
    – AntoineL
    Oct 27, 2017 at 12:59
  • 2
    @bmaupin: Yes; on the other hand, .msc files are XML files and are not signed, so you can drag the certlm.msc file from a 8/2012/10/2016 box to a 7/2008/Vista computer, and uses it there: it works exactly the same way there.
    – AntoineL
    Oct 27, 2017 at 13:03

The previous answer confused me until I found that a couple of steps were not explicitly stated. Whenever I opened certmgr.msc it only showed me the Current User certs, rather than the ones for the Local Computer store. I found more details in this blog entry.

In case that link dissolves, you need to do these steps to access the different stores:

  1. Start → Run: mmc.exe
  2. Menu: FileAdd/Remove Snap-in
  3. Under Available snap-ins, select Certificates and press Add.
  4. Select Computer Account for the certificates to manage. Press Next.
  5. Select Local Computer and press Finish.
  6. Press OK to return to the management console.

Once you have the MMC set up, then you can save the msc with a new name per the above answer.

  • 2
    You need to be running mmc as an administrator to have step 4 available. Mar 23, 2017 at 19:55
  • @tjmoore It's fine, once you have created the .msc file you do not need to load mmc.exe manually separately. I have gone a step further and added a shortcut to the .msc file to my Win+X menu. You need to adjust the options (File->Options) to put it in 'User mode' afterwards to prevent seeing the prompt to save changes constantly. Highlight Certificates in the left pane first to save you a navigation step every time you open it.
    – deed02392
    Jan 29, 2018 at 9:42

Run mmc, select the snap-in, and save (File → Save) the console to your preferred location. Call it something like syscertmgr.msc. Run the saved console whenever you want the computer account's certificates.

  • That involves starting MMC. I need to open certmgr without starting MMC, i.e. whenever I connect to a server and install my cert, I want to be able just to start certmgr without going through MMC and selecting the snap-in and that ritual. I am looking for a shorter ritual. You are giving me a longer ritual. Feb 23, 2011 at 23:25
  • @Andrew: However, you only need to do it once. The next time, your "ritual" would consist of 1) opening syscertmgr.msc that you created. You cannot force the built-in certmgr.msc do what it's not intended to do. Feb 24, 2011 at 10:28
  • I only need to load the certificate once. On each server. We have four or five test environments for each production environments. I guess in the prod envs they actually update certs every year. But the test envs don't survive long enough so I'd never do that twice. Feb 24, 2011 at 15:26
  • @Andrew: Fine, create a console once and start it from a network share. :) (To quote the Help file of certmgr, "To switch between managing certificates for your user account, a computer, or a service, you must have separate instances of Certificates added into the console." This means that certmgr really cannot switch to Computer mode.) Feb 24, 2011 at 18:00
  • @Andrew: certutil -ImportPFX Feb 24, 2011 at 18:13

If you follow the instructions in @WiringHarness answer. On the 'Select Computer' screen, make sure you tick "Allow the selected computer to be changed when launching from the command line. This only applies if you save the console."

Let's imagine you save the console in your Windows user home directory with file name certs.msc.

The following batch script will allow you open the Certificates console on a remote machine as another user...

@echo off
set /p hostname="Enter host name: "
set /p username="Enter domain\username: "
runas /user:%username% "mmc %homepath%\certs.msc \"/computer:%hostname%\""

Since .msc files are for the most part XML, you can create your own certlm.msc

Step 1) Make a copy of Certmgr.msc (copy certmgr.msc certlm.msc) Step 2) open certlm.msc in the text editor of your choice (notepad certlm.msc) Step 3) Change Line 88 in the file from: -"Certificates - Current User" -to: -"Certificates - Local Computer" Step 4) Save the file

  • So this is a hack then and you confirmed this works? Jul 11, 2017 at 14:20
  • 1
    Well I learned something from this answer, but ultimately it's not correct because you can change the text to whatever you want, but it only changes the title of the snapin.
    – mwfearnley
    Jun 4, 2018 at 16:22

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