How to Fix a Certificate Error on Vista


Certificate errors indicate that a website is not secure: navigating to such a page could result in a third party obtaining your personal information. Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8 have increased your ability to ensure that you are navigating secure sites when online. Easily identifiable icons and visual cues alert you when a certificate error occurs: the address bar will have a red background and access to the website will be blocked by an intermediary page, thus notifying you that the website needs to be examined in more detail.

  • Check the time and date to which your computer is set. Occasionally certificate errors occur because a computer is set to the wrong date and/or time. In Vista, the time is located in the bottom right-hand corner. The date appears when the cursor is placed over the time and allowed to hover. If either are incorrect, double click on the time. A small window with the date and time will appear. Enter the correct date and/or time.

  • Refresh the website.

  • If the certificate error still appears and the address bar still has a red background, click on the padlock located next to the address bar.

  • A window will appear that informs you about the certificate. This information will include the website's title, whether the owner is verified or not, and whether the location has been verified or not. You will also be informed whether or not much information is known about the website and how trustworthy it is.

  • Compare the information provided in this box with what you know about the site. If the two pieces of information don't match up, the site is not secure. You can choose to navigate away from the page or to bypass the certificate error and use the site.

  • If bypassing the certificate error, click on "View Certificates" at the bottom of the window.

  • You will be given the option to "Install Certificates." Click on this option.

  • A gray security warning box will appear, allowing you to choose to "Yes," continue with the site, or to "No," not continue with the site. Click "Yes." You will then be allowed to navigate through the block to the website.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be wary of working with websites with certificate errors. Only provide personal information to trusted websites.

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  • Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
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