Where did that crazy private key password go?

You are the RMS admin, and you get a call that people are randomly unable to get licenses from your newly load balanced RMS installation…or the existing installation that you just changed over to use a newer faster SQL server.

You jump on your RMS servers and start looking at the event logs. Hmmm.. no problems on this one. Let’s look at the other one.

Wait a minute, whats this?

Event Type: Error
Event Source: RMS
Event Category: Certification
Event ID: 11
An error occurred while attempting to access the persisted private key material.
The following information was reported:
The private key password is not set or is not valid. Contact the system administrator to set the password.

After doing the crazy admin dance where you run around in circles like a crazed circus monkey, flailing your arms about you like a Mr. Miagi torture drum, you sit down and start looking for answers. Let me give you two possiblilities:

1. You just added a server to the cluster, and when asked for the name of the SQL server, you specified a different SQL server name than you did when you provisioned the first RMS root cluster. When I say *different*, I mean you may have used the FQDN on the original server, and the netbios name on the cluster server, or any different variation.

2. You switched over to a new SQL server, but didn’t cover all your bases.

In either case you need to follow the directions listed here:


Assuming the problem is number 1, just follow the article making sure that all of the locations I specify in the above article match the values that are in those locations on the good server…specifically step number 9.

Assuming the issue is number 2, just follow the article.


Comments (1)

  1. Dennis Beatty says:

    Any chance there is a 3rd possibility?  I have an ADRMS 2008 R2 server that is throwing this error after initial build.  I can remove the databases from the SQL server, unregister the SCP, remove the role and delete the inetpub directory, reboot and re-install and still get the exact same error.  

    What else could be throwing that error?