Add Private Key

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The Add Private Key object action builds and submits an ALTER CERTIFICATE... WITH PRIVATE KEY statement, optionally including a DECRYPTION BY PASSWORD argument. This lets you change the private key for a certificate, add a private key to a certificate that currently does not have one, and optionally, specify a decryption password.

Note: This functionality is available for Microsoft SQL Server only.

To change a certificate’s private key

  1. Initiate an Add Private Key action against a certificate. For more information see Initiating an object operation.
    The Add Private Key dialog box opens.
  2. Use the following table as a guide to understanding and modifying settings in the dialog:
Step Settings and tasks

Action options

Lets you work with the following settings:

Private Key File

The full path and filename (local or UNC) of the file to which the private key is to be written.

Decryption Password

The password required to decrypt the key.


Review the referring and referred objects that will be automatically resolved when you execute this operation. For details, see Dependencies.


Displays the DDL that will execute the object action. For details, see Preview.

3. Finally, use the Execute button to create the object.