Code signing certificates have a finite lifespan, just the same as SSL/TLS as well as other x.509 digital certificates. This indicates that they have a limited shelf life and can only be utilized within that time.

You want your certificate to be valid for as long as feasible, which may be 10 years. Windows won’t recognize a new cert as such once your original certificate has expired.

Your application is processed as though it were signed by a separate entity and placed at the end of the line. This implies that depending on group regulations, people who download your code may not be allowed to run it at all and instead see unpleasant notifications. This will carry on until a sizable number of users have installed your software despite the severe warnings.

Mainly the duration of a code signing certificate is one to four years.

A timestamp server would further make it possible for programs to continue working after the certificate expires, but updates will be difficult. If you want to share your software globally, this is a major problem but is not a problem for locally used applications.

How to Handle an Expiring Code Signing Certificate?

The biggest problem that organizations experience is when trying to sign new software after their certificate expires.

If this applies to oneself, it signifies that the code signing certificate needs to be purchased, validated, and installed again.

How To Buy A Code Signing Certificate After Expiration:

An easy fix is to update a certificate for Code Signing before it expires.

In other words, you can either switch to a different certificate authority or just buy your code-signing certificate once more from the same trusted CA you did before.

Or you can purchase a cheap code-signing certificate :

  • Cetera code signing certificate
  • Comodo code signing certificate
  • Comodo EV code signing certificate
  • Sectigo code signing certificate
  • Sectigo EV code signing certificate

Legitimize your certificate and check the authority of your organization

You might not need to go through the overall process again if you’re restoring your code signing certificate.

The complete validation procedure must be followed if your certificate has expired or you’ve chosen a different certificate authority

The validation procedure enables the granting certificate authority to confirm your organization’s validity.

It enables them to verify that you are a legitimate business and assure your clients that using your product is secure.

Download the certificate you use for code signing

To install the updated or updated code signing certificate, look in your mail for an activation link. Open your browser and click the link. The certificate will then be able to be installed in your login keychain or certificate store, depending on whether you’re using a Microsoft or Apple platform.

The code signing certification can also be exported as an a.pfx file for Windows or an a.p12 file for Mac.

Now, Click Generate Certificate to acquire and download the code signing certificate.

Check to see if the browser settings key store has installed the Code Signing Certificate.

✔️ Open your Google chrome setting

✔️ Go to the advanced setting option

✔️ Tap on the managed certificate

✔️ It will launch a fresh Certificate window.

✔️ Tap twice just on the code signing certificate that you recently installed in the Personal tab of this page.

✔️ Choose the certificate based on its expiry date if more than one code signing certificate is installed.

✔️ A General tab is open which displays a new code signing certificate.

✔️ This certificate has a private key that you possess.

✔️ This demonstrates that the certificate has been installed and that you possess its private key.

With the help of this code signing certificate, you can now sign your software or application code.


When my code signing certificate is renewed, do I have to start over with my Microsoft SmartScreen reputation?

When you sign the code, timestamping ensures that it will continue to be trusted even after the certificate has expired. Your code would no longer be considered if you don’t timestamp it because the digital signature and certificate will expire together. Therefore, it is a wise move to timestamp a code when signing it. For details on timestamping your code when signing, take the time to read Using A Code Signing Certificate.

How can my software be timestamped?

Several software development tools, such as Visual Studio and Microsoft SignTool offer timestamps. When a program is signed, the signature is deemed to be valid regardless of when it is launched (even though a code signing certificate will have expired). Although timestamping could require an additional step in the process, it is unquestionably worthwhile. It will prevent issues with expired code signing certificates in the future and spare you a tonne of headaches in the long run.



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The maximum lifetime of a code signing certificate varies based on industry standards and Certificate Authorities (CAs). As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, the industry trend was moving towards reducing certificate lifetimes for security reasons. Commonly, certificate lifetimes ranged from one to three years, but it's essential to check with your CA and adhere to the latest industry guidelines.

No, an expired code signing certificate cannot be renewed. Once a certificate expires, it is no longer valid, and the private key associated with it cannot be used for signing new code. To continue signing code, you must obtain a new code signing certificate from the Certificate Authority and use the new certificate to sign your software.

Yes, it is crucial to renew a code signing certificate before it expires. Failure to do so can result in the issues mentioned in the first question. Regularly renewing the certificate ensures that the digital signatures remain valid, maintaining trust in your software and preventing disruptions in its distribution and use.

Expired certificates are considered bad for several reasons:

  • Security Risks: An expired certificate may indicate that the code is outdated and no longer receiving security updates.
  • Trust Issues: Users may be hesitant to install or run software with an expired certificate, fearing that it has not been adequately maintained or may have been tampered with.
  • Operational Disruptions: Systems and platforms that enforce code signing requirements may block or restrict the execution of code signed with an expired certificate.

Addressing expired certificates in a timely manner is crucial for maintaining the integrity of your code and ensuring a smooth user experience.

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