Tag Archives: Active Directory Certificate Services

Certificate Services operations fail with error 0x80070057

While implementing a two-tier PKI I ran into the issue that certutil.exe -crl, and PowerShell cmdlets such as Get-CACrlDistributionPoint would fail on the Subordinate Domain CA with a generic error which made finding a solution very difficult:

PS C:\Windows\system32> Get-CACrlDistributionPoint
Get-CACrlDistributionPoint : CCertAdmin::GetConfigEntry: The parameter is incorrect. 0x80070057 (WIN32:
ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER)
At line:1 char:1
+ Get-CACrlDistributionPoint
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (:) [Get-CACrlDistributionPoint], ArgumentException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : System.ArgumentException,Microsoft.CertificateServices.Administration.Comm
DistributionPointCommand

PS C:\Windows\system32> certutil -crl
CertUtil: -CRL command FAILED: 0x80070057 (WIN32: 87 ERROR_INVALID_PARAMETER)
CertUtil: The parameter is incorrect.
PS C:\Windows\system32>

I had started off by following this guide on Technet Blogs:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/yungchou/archive/2013/10/21/enterprise-pki-with-windows-server-2012-r2-active-directory-certificate-services-part-1-of-2.aspx

Not long after proceeding I realised that I needed to alter certain aspects of the way it was configured. I started again and continued to use the same CA server hostnames but with new CA names, this time preferring to follow this guide by Derek Seaman:
http://www.derekseaman.com/2014/01/windows-server-2012-r2-two-tier-pki-ca-pt-1.html

However I encountered the errors with the subordinate CA refusing to run the PowerShell cmdlets relating to the Certificate Authority. The errors were also encountered by commenter “Per” on Derek’s blog post, and similarly reported in the comments on the Windows Server 2012 R2 Active Directory Certificate Services Microsoft Test Lab page:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh831348.aspx

There is a Microsoft KB referencing the same error at the time of creating the subordinate CA. The article implicates permissions, however this is a red herring.

It took a lot of trial and error, but eventually I did resolve this issue thanks to some pointers in a Microsoft Directory Services Team Blog post on troubleshooting Certificate Enrollment. I determined the root cause – several superfluous entries in Active Directory for an aborted CA installation. I needed to delete these with ADSIEdit, though I have subsequently discovered that you can also use the AD Sites and Services MMC snap-in to do this (at parent, View > Show Services Node). When I first attempted to set up the CAs I had been using the standard auto-generated names because I had thought that not doing so might invite trouble later on – so my subordinate domain CA had published itself to Active Directory at CN=Enrollment Services,CN=Public Key Services,CN=Services using the name domain-HOSTNAME-CA.

I had thought this entry was sane when I was looking back over the ADSIEdit output while investigating the problem – because I know it formats the cert request using this notation. Then I remembered that I had not used this CA name in my subsequent CA installation attempt. I removed this old name entry from Active Directory and it immediately fixed the issue. I guess because although it was for a different CA installation attempt, crucially it shared the same server hostname, hence the problem when PowerShell was invoking Certificate Services to query the Directory Service.

Following this, I then pruned similar superfluous records for the same abortive CA installation attempt which were located at:
CN=KRA,CN=Public Key Services,CN=Services
CN=AIA,CN=Public Key Services,CN=Services
CN=MY_CA_HOSTNAME,CN=CDP,CN=Public Key Services,CN=Services

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