Retrieving a digital certificate from a corrupt hard drive?

Hi I was wondering if it is possible to retrieve a digital certificate from a corrupt hard drive?  
The hard drive is unbootable but I can access it by hooking it up to my computer and booting from my hard drive and then using a recovery program to retrieve some data.  I have contacted customer support about retrieving their certificate and they say it has to be backed up using Internet Options - Content - Certificates, but obviously I cant access this from the corrupted hard drive as it is unbootable.  Any suggestions will be most appreciated.  Thanks
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Hi keepa,

Can customer support send you another certificate? Without Explorer, not sure if you can recover the old one.

keepaAuthor Commented:
Hi war1 thanks for replying, customer support can send another one but this means purchasing it again. I'm not sure I will be able to recover the old one either, but was hoping someone may know a way, thing is... if they are that easy to recover then this wouldnt make them secure would it lol. Thanks anyway.
First you would want to recover NTUSER.dat from your profile and the rest of the registry from windows\system32\config.  Then you can open it in regedit.  That part isn't too bad.  The problem you face is once you are at that point you have to determine where it's stored, and possably deal with an encrypted part of the registry.  Not impossible though.

What type of Certificate is it?  (Root, Trusted authority, personal, etc.)  That will matter make a difference where is it stored in the registry.
Microsoft Azure 2017

Azure has a changed a lot since it was originally introduce by adding new services and features. Do you know everything you need to about Azure? This course will teach you about the Azure App Service, monitoring and application insights, DevOps, and Team Services.

keepaAuthor Commented:
Hi stefmahoney, thanks also for replying, it is a personal certificate!
Dmitri FarafontovLinux Systems AdminCommented:
Personal certiciates are usually stored under a subfolder in your profile under C:\Documents and Settings\<YourLogon>. I recommend using Wininternals Admin CD, it will give you a Windows like interface so you can actually browse that folder.
keepaAuthor Commented:
Hi deltafire, can I do this even though the hard drive is unbootable??
keepaAuthor Commented:
Well i managed to recover the 'ntuser.dat' from the corrupt HDD and thought i would try replacing my ntuser.dat file with it, but when i tried to logon it wouldnt let me because the ntuser.dat looks at the registry and obviously my registry is different to the one on the corrupt hard drive, also i was not able to recover 'windows\system32\config' from the corrupt HDD as nothings appears in the windows folder when using a recovery program.  I really need to be able to boot up from this HDD, ive tried reinstalling MBR to no avail, if anyone has any other ideas i would be most grateful.  Thanks.
Dmitri FarafontovLinux Systems AdminCommented:
Did you look in your user profile under C:\Documents and Settings\YourID? Alternative idea would be to boot into other OS, which can recognize the partition and than get that certificate copied over. Something like Knoppix Linux live CD, which is going to boot your machine from the CD itself. You can get it here Hopefully it will the partition and allow you mount it.
You can recover the *public* portion of the certificate but you willnot be able to recover the *private key* for the certificate.  This is stored in the Protected Storage subsystem and you won't be able to access that on the bad drive.


Dave Dietz

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
keepaAuthor Commented:
Thanks Dave, I had a feeling I wouldnt be able to retrieve it, was just hoping someone might know a way :-) anyway we have had to purchase another one, it's annoying these companies can't send a replacement one, I'm making sure this one gets backed up lol. Thanks all for your suggestions, not sure how I should sort these points out now lol yet another dilemna lol.
Dmitri FarafontovLinux Systems AdminCommented:
keepa, we have not heard from you please finalize your question :))
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
OS Security

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.