Windows Cryptographic Service Provider Error 2148073507

  1. Windows Cryptographic Service Provider
  2. Windows Cryptographic Service

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This is part 2 of selecting a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for your Windows Server 2012 environment.

Windows cryptographic service provider

In part 1; Selecting a Key Size for Your Root Certificate Server in Windows Server 2012 AD CS, we looked at creating a Strong Key for Root Certification Authority. In this post, we’ll look at deploying the Root CA.

Deploying the Root Certification Authority

The Root CA certificate is easily generated during the creation of the CA. The Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) installation task within the Add Roles and Features Wizard prompts you for virtually everything. It even gives you an important warning right off the bat:

The name and domain settings of this computer cannot be changed after a certification authority (CA) has been installed. If you want to change the computer name, join a domain, or promote this server to a domain controller, complete these changes before installing the CA.

Once you’ve verified that the server is ready to become a CA and complete the wizard, you’re asked to make a few key decisions that are required to become a root CA. That’s because a root CA always generates a self-signed certificate. The data you must supply include the CA name, the Certificate Revocation List Distribution Point (CDP), and the parameters for the root CA’s key pair.

Your first option is to select whether the server should use an existing key pair or create a new one.

Figure 1. AD CS Configuration – Specify a new or existing private key.

Assuming you’re creating a new key pair, you’re presented with the aptly-named Cryptographic Options page.

Figure 2. AD CS Configuration – Specify the cryptographic options for the root CA key pair.

I call this an aptly-named page because it is, itself, cryptic. How do you make sense of this? It is really a confusing dialog, one that gives super-nerds a lot of flexibility but means little to most of us.

Selecting a Cryptographic Provider for the Root Key Pair

The cryptographic provider is the software component that actually generates the key pair. It generally supports the standard Windows APIs and identifies which algorithms, key strengths, etc. The AD CS Configuration page queries CryptoAPI to determine which providers it should display in this list for you to choose.

Figure 3. AD CS Configuration – The list of cryptographic providers for generating the key pair.

In Windows Server 2012 the built-in cryptographic providers are:

  • Microsoft Base Smart Card Crypto Provider
  • Microsoft Enhanced Cryptographic Provider v1.0
  • ECDSA_P256#Microsoft Smart Card Key Storage Provider
  • ECDSA_P521#Microsoft Smart Card Key Storage Provider
  • RSA#Microsoft Software Key Storage Provider
  • Microsoft Base Cryptographic Provider v1.0
  • ECDSA_P256#Microsoft Software Key Storage Provider
  • ECDSA_P521#Microsoft Software Key Storage Provider
  • Microsoft Strong Cryptographic Provider
  • ECDSA_P384#Microsoft Software Key Storage Provider
  • Microsoft Base DSS Cryptographic Provider
  • RSA#Microsoft Smart Card Key Storage Provider
  • DSA#Microsoft Software Key Storage Provider
  • ECDSA_P384#Microsoft Smart Card Key Storage Provider

Some of these have obvious uses. For example, there are smart card providers that are used if you plan to store the private key on a smart card. If you deploy a cryptographic hardware device and have loaded the appropriate software, it will appear on this list as well. Some use the RSA algorithm, while others use elliptic curve cryptographic algorithms.

My advice: Unless you have a specific compliance requirement, use a hardware cryptographic appliance, or use a specific smart card vendor with their own provider, there’s no benefit and the complexity of managing those keys may not be worth it. Stick with the tried-and-true RSA algorithm.

If you want more Windows PKI articles please be sure to drop me a comment.

Take care!
Mike Danseglio -CISSP / CEH
Interface Technical Training – Technical Director and Instructor

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CategorySecurity, Windows Server 2012Tags

AD CS, CA key pair, CDP, Certificate Revocation List Distribution Point, Certification Authority, Crypto, Cryptography, CrytoAPI, PKI, Public Key Infrastructure, Root Certification Authority, RSA

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Sometimes, when we try to place a digital signature in a PDF file with specially developed software, an error message appears with one of the following descriptions:

The Windows cryptographic service provider reported an error. Specified invalid vendor type, invalid signature, security breach, code 2148073504 or missing key set


In most cases, the problem is caused by obsolete certificates or corrupted registry settings. So, the first thing you want to do is to reset or recreate the user profile in the domain to check the result.

The cryptography service provider reported an error

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Windows Cryptographic Service Provider

(1) According to Microsoft, a cryptography service provider (CSP) contains cryptographic standards and algorithm implementations. A CSP consists of at least one Dynamic Link library (DLL), which implements the functions in CryptoSPI (a system program interface). Providers implement cryptographic algorithms, generate keys, provide key memories and authenticate users.


If you are faced with errors, here are some things you might want to try:

1] Run services.msc and restart the Windows cryptographic service.


2] Open Internet Explorer > Tools > Internet Options. Select the Content tab and click Certificates. Check whether there is a certificate for the program or vendor issuing errors. If it is missing, you must create a new one. When it expires, remove it and create a new one. If a particular certificate does not work, select another certificate and delete the old certificates.

5] Reinstall the user’s entire certificate list and certificates.

6] If you have installed the SafeNet Authentication Client Tool on your system, open the application by navigating to its installation directory or right-clicking the SafeNet icon in the taskbar and selecting Tools from the menu.

Click on the’Gear’ icon to open the’Extended View’ area. Under Advanced View, expand the Token area and navigate to the certificate you want to use for signing. You can find them in the User certificates group.

Right-click your certificate and select Set as CSP from the drop-down menu. Repeat the same step for all certificates you use.

Windows Cryptographic Service

Close SafeNet Client Tools Authentication and try signing the documents again.

7] Recreate the Microsoft Cryptography Local Store folder. Navigate to the folder C:ProgramDataMicrosoftCryptoRSA. Rename the folder to S-1-5-18. Reboot your system and see if it helps.

8] If you have installed the ePass2003 software, the cause of the problem may be the e-token ePass2003. It is recommended to uninstall and reinstall it first. To do this, go to the Tool Settings section, navigate to the applications and features and uninstall it like any other application.

Restart your computer and reinstall ePass2003. When reinstalling, be sure to select MicroSoft CSP if you select the CSP option. Things should return to normal and the Windows encryption service provider error should no longer occur.

Best wishes!

Advanced literature: Windows services do not start.

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